The NFL League Office notified the Dallas Cowboys and DE Greg Hardy by letter that he is suspended without pay for the team’s first 10 games of the 2015 regular season. The reason for the suspension was for conduct detrimental to the league in violation of the NFL Constitution and By-Laws, the NFL Player Contract, and the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.
Per NFL Communications the letter from Commissioner Roger Goodell, informed the parties involved that an extensive two-month NFL investigation following the dismissal of his case in North Carolina state court determined that there was credible evidence that Greg Hardy engaged in conduct that violated NFL policies in multiple respects and with aggravating circumstances. The investigation was led by Lisa Friel and T&M Protection Resources (Friel is now NFL senior vice president and special counsel for investigations).
Greg Hardy and his agent, lawyers and representatives from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), Per NFL Communications “Hardy met with NFL staff and investigators on March 4, at which time Hardy’s counsel made a detailed presentation and shared additional information. Hardy and his counsel also met on March 10 with the independent investigators, at which he was afforded the opportunity to discuss and respond to questions about the events of May 13, 2014. And, after having the opportunity to review certain photographs recently made available by the district attorney’s office in North Carolina, Hardy and his counsel had a further opportunity to discuss the evidence and provide a supplemental report from Hardy’s medical expert”.
In the end, the NFL’s investigation concluded that Hardy violated the Personal Conduct Policy by using physical force against Nicole Holder in at least four instances. First, he used physical force against her which caused her to land in a bathtub. Second, he used physical force against her which caused her to land on a futon that was covered with at least four semi-automatic rifles. Third, he used physical force against her by placing his hands around Ms. Holder’s neck and applying enough pressure to leave visible marks. And fourth, he used physical force to shove Ms. Holder against a wall in his apartment’s entry hallway.
Commissioner Goodell noted that Hardy engaged in conduct detrimental to the league and that a suspension of this length would be appropriate under any version of the Personal Conduct Policy or its predecessors.
The commissioner’s decision is based on findings that are supported by credible corroborating evidence independent of Ms. Holder’s statements and testimony, such as testimony of other witnesses, medical and police reports, expert analyses, and photographs.
The NFL’s investigation also concluded that Hardy failed to provide complete and accurate information to NFL investigators and members of the NFL staff. As part of Commissioner Goodell’s decision, he directed Hardy to obtain a clinical evaluation by a qualified professional of his choosing. If counseling or treatment is recommended, he will provide appropriate information in order for the NFL office to monitor and evaluate all follow-up care.
Greg Hardy’s suspension will begin on September 5, the day of final roster reductions for NFL teams. He can participate in offseason workout program starting with OTA’s (organized team activities), weight lifting sessions, mini-camps, training camp, and preseason games. Hardy can be reinstated the Monday following week 10 of the regular season.
Commissioner Goodell wrote. “In that respect, you should understand that another violation of this nature may result in your banishment from the NFL.”
Will Hardy and the NFLPA succeed in lowering the total weeks of suspension. Did the hammer fall harder because of the lack of Ray Rice punishment, or did Hardy’s actions against Nicole Holder warrant the 10 game suspension, some say it was not enough. How will Greg Hardy handle the off season knowing he wont play for 10 weeks.
(NFL Communications data contributed to this blog)