Former Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy is back in the news and not making any sense.
In an interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Hardy, who is a free agent, reiterated his innocence in a 2014 domestic violence case that has ultimately left him without an NFL team.
ESPN released a transcript of part of the interview, and Hardy isn’t doing himself any favors. He starts by saying, apparently, that violence against women doesn’t happen in the South.
“I’ve never put my hand on ANY women … In my whole entire life, no sir,” Hardy said. “That’s just not how we’re raised. As you can tell, like I said again, it’s the Bible belt. It’s just something that’s, I wouldn’t even say frowned upon, just something that’s nonexistent in most southern homes.”
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Naturally, Schefter follows up by asking Hardy to explain how the photos of a battered Nicole Holder match with his account.
Schefter begins the question by saying “you say you did nothing wrong.” Hardy then wants to set the record straight but completely fumbles it.
“I will stop you there and say that I didn’t say that I didn’t do anything wrong,” Hardy attempts to explain. “That situation occurred and that situation was handled but … saying that I did nothing wrong is a stretch but saying I am innocent is correct. Yes sir.”
Hardy then states that he did not put his hands on Holder.
A district court judge believed otherwise in 2014 and Hardy was found guilty of assault on a female and communicating threats. He asked for and received a jury trial, but that trial never happened after prosecutors could not locate Holder to testify. The charges have since been expunged.
Hardy made $13.1 million for the Panthers in 2014 but only played in one game while being on the commissioner’s exempt list for the rest of the season. The Dallas Cowboys signed Hardy before the 2015 season and were (big surprise) disappointed in Hardy on and off the field.
It’s tough to imagine a team signing Hardy this season. Had the photos been released in the offseason of 2015, I firmly believe no one would have signed Hardy.
Like his entire career, a team will have to weigh whether he’s worth the headache. And I’m not sure one will.