dallas cowboys, cowboys greg hardy

The Cowboys’ Greg Hardy Experiment Has Gone Awry

After Hardy shoved a coach in Sunday’s loss to the Giants, Jerry Jones backed the embattled defensive end and the locker room tried to ignore the ugly truth: Big D now stands for Dysfunction

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy.
As a refresher, Hardy was convicted last July of assaulting and threatening to kill his former girlfriend. Hardy dragged her by the hair from room to room, threw her on a futon covered in rifles and clasped his hands around her neck. Those are the details that Hardy’s first wave of enablers, those blind to his conviction, tend to forget or at least compartmentalize. They point to Hardy’s appeal for a jury trial, automatically granted in North Carolina, and claim that because Hardy’s ex-girlfriend failed to show that makes Hardy innocent. It does not.Fast-forward to this season, in which Hardy, gifted an $11.3 million contact by Jerry Jones who clearly believes in talent over trouble, has perfected his bad boy role to a T. And no one with any authority seems to give a damn.

The last player out of the shower in the visitors’ locker room was Greg Hardy, red-eyed and indignant a good 45 minutes after the Cowboys’ 27-20 loss to the Giants.

Still dripping wet in front of his locker, the combustible defensive end turned to face a group of reporters and proceeded to cut off every question with the same sharp, dismissive response: “No comment. Next question.” There was a brief pause after six such exchanges, and that was his cue to end the interview with the most insincere of salutations.

“Thank you guys for coming,” Hardy said. “I appreciate you all very much.”

This is the player who moments earlier had been described by owner Jerry Jones as “one of the real leaders on the team,” which hardly makes any sense. Is a real leader someone who misses the first four games, having been suspended by the NFL for a domestic violence incident in which he assaulted his ex-girlfriend and threw her on a futon covered with semi-automatic rifles? Is a real leader someone who inserts himself into the special-teams huddle on the field, yelling and pushing around coaches and teammates after the Giants score a 100-yard touchdown on a kickoff?

“That’s the kind of thing that inspires a football team,” Jones said of Hardy’s outburst, though it never had that effect. Hardy’s antics continued on the sideline, where he got into a heated exchange with injured receiver Dez Bryant. A few minutes later, the special-teams unit committed another miscue, muffing a punt that sealed the win for the Giants. Jones later admitted that he hadn’t actually seen Hardy’s fit.

This sequence of events pretty much sums up where the 2015 Cowboys are at after seven weeks: They’ve lost control of their season, and with two of their biggest leaders sidelined by injuries, no one seems to have any answers.

Given his history of violence, and his arrogance for appearing in a recent rap video with strippers and talking about having “guns blazing” in his return to the football field, Hardy has no reservoir of goodwill. One video of Sunday’s on-field scuffle appears to show Hardy aggressively slapping at the clipboard in special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia’s hand, prompting the coach to push back and a scuffle to ensue.

Hardy got in the coach’s face, and then had to be steered to the sideline by teammates. Acceptable behavior? The makeup of a leader?

Safety Danny McCray, who was in the special-teams huddle, hesitated before answering.

“Uh, I guess we’ll have to figure that out on Wednesday,” he said. “See what Coach Rich says about it.”

Trying to hold their season together, the Cowboys can’t bear any more questions.

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