NFL

Interview paints both Greg Hardy and ESPN in a bad light

Vincent Frank
Written by Vincent Frank

Former Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy still knows how to make the news for all the wrong reasons.

Conducting an utterly ridiculous interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter this week, Hardy once again denied striking his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, back in 2013.

In talking with the NFL insider, Hardy denied ever putting his hands on a woman in his entire life:

“I’ve never put my hands on ANY women … in my whole entire life, no sir. That’s just now how we’re raised, Hardy said. “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 up, just something that’s nonexistent in most southern homes.”

Fact check.

Of the six states making up the highest rate of women killed by men, half exist within the so-called “bible belt” with South Carolina ranking first in this tragic category (via Violence Policy Center).

Outside of Hardy misrepresenting the reality of domestic violence in the United States, he was originally convicted of striking his ex-girlfriend in a bench trial in North Carolina before charges were eventually dismissed.

This came after she refused to testify — a decision that came following the two reportedly reaching an undisclosed financial settlement.

If you remember correctly, Holder had posted over four dozen photos of the injuries she sustained in the attack — an attack in which Hardy allegedly threw her on a bed of guns before he strangled her.

In lobbing a softball interview to Hardy, a respected Schefter tarnished his image around the sports world. He didn’t ask the hard questions. Refused to follow up with points running contrary to Hardy’s testimony. Giving Hardy a platform was an injustice to all the domestic violence survivors out there.

Fellow ESPN colleague Michelle Beadle actually used a show on the network to take issue with her company handling the interview (via Pro Football Talk):

“I feel dirty in that this guy has no job right now, and for some reason we’ve decided as a network that we’re going to give him the stage for his redemption tour as he basically goes out and tries to find some employment.”

Schefter has since defended the interview, including his ridiculous take that Hardy seems like a “changed man.”

“Well, look, we’ve all seen the persona of Greg Hardy on the sidelines and in games,” Schefter said. “That’s what I expected. OK. I should have been more precise in how I described it. That was a mistake on my part. I regret not making that more clear.”

That’s fine and dandy, but it still has to be a bitter pill for many out there to swallow, his female colleague included. There’s a fine line that has to be walked here. And in reality, Schefter tripped all over it, landing flat on his face.

Listen, people make mistakes. Some more egregious than others. It’s Hardy’s unwillingness to take responsibility that’s at issue here. Real men fess up to their mistakes, change their ways and never repeat the same issues that plagued them in the past. In this, Hardy has failed at nearly every turn.

For ESPN to give him an outlet to continue to lie and make false assumptions about the reality of domestic violence in the United States, it’s a shame. It paints the network and Schefter in a bad light.

As it relates to Hardy, this week’s interview does absolutely nothing to put him on the radar of NFL teams — teams that are willing to take on players with checkered off-field issues.

Teams that are unwilling to do so when said player can’t act like an adult (a man) and take responsibility for the actions that have put him in the position he’s in today.

About the author

Vincent Frank

Vincent Frank

Editor-at-large, Sportsnaut.

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” Rumi