By Mwaniki Muturi
If you have watched ESPN as of late, chances are you are aware of the domestic abuse case that has been haunting Greg Hardy for over a year now. For those who don’t know the full story, a judge found Greg Hardy guilty of assaulting and communicating threats to his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder on July 15, 2014. However, the charges were ultimately dropped when Holder failed to appear in court to testify during Hardy’s appeal. After the charges were dropped, the NFL conducted their own investigation, and decided to give Greg Hardy a 10-game suspension on April 22, 2015. This decision was reviewed, and on July 10 Hardy’s 10-game suspension was reduced to a 4-game suspension.
Although Hardy’s case was wrapped up back in July, the case has recently made its way back into headlines after sports news outlet Deadspin released photos of the injuries that Greg Hardy’s ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, sustained from Greg Hardy’s domestic abuse(WARNING: photos are very graphic. Viewer discretion is advised). After these photos were revealed, many expressed the disapproval of Greg Hardy’s 4-game suspension, claiming that it was unfair compared to the penalties that were given to players such as Ray Rice and Adrien Peterson, who were also recently involved in domestic abuse cases. Many have argued that Hardy should have been given a harsher punishment, while some people, such as sports journalist and ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith, went as far as to suggest that Hardy be cut from the Cowboys roster. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley however, has a different opinion.
In an essay by Barkley written for the Bleacher Report, Barkley shares his stance on Greg Hardy’s domestic abuse case, stating that Hardy is in need of less punishment and more help. An excerpt from Barkley’s essay reads as follows:
“For people to start going crazy a year-and-a-half later, because they saw the pictures of Holder’s injuries after she was allegedly assaulted by Hardy; I’m disturbed by that. We all agree that the pictures were awful. What is supposed to happen next? If you say he can’t play football anymore, what happens to him?
I believe that there are way too many black men we’ve just thrown away. Between mandatory minimum sentences, overworked public defenders and a whole lot of other reasons, there are too many black men behind bars. And when they get out, they don’t have a chance—to get a job, to buy a house, to vote.
Again, I believe that domestic violence is 100 percent wrong. You should never hit a woman. But I also believe Greg Hardy needs a chance to get better—not as a football player; as a human being. He needs psychological help so he can be a better man. I hope Greg Hardy doesn’t let me down, but more importantly, I hope he doesn’t let himself down. He needs to be willing to admit the problem and be accepting of treatment.”
Charles Barkley has been known to make some outrageous comments in the media, but it seems he may be on to something here. What do you think? Do players like Greg Hardy deserve a second chance? Should the NFL reconsider their policy on domestic abuse?
To read Barkley’s full essay, click here.