If Dallas Cowboys Sign Greg Hardy, I Will Quit This Team


As the Dallas Cowboys free agency picture gained little additional clarity this week, news elsewhere in the NFL had ripple effects upon Cowboys Nation. On February 9th, North Carolina prosecutors announced they would be dropping criminal charges stemming from a domestic violence incident against Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy.

More from The Landry Hat

The chatter about Hardy’s future began almost immediately, analysts assessing the needs of teams around the league and how he could meet them. With the Cowboys in desperate need of a pass rusher, it was not too long before Dallas was on the short list of where Hardy could land.

I’ve been thinking about this all week and here’s where I land on the issue: if the Cowboys choose to sign Greg Hardy, I will quit this team.

As a female football fan, I am often asked how I can champion the sport. The 2014 season made it even more difficult to come up with answers that felt altogether satisfying even to myself. Domestic violence is pretty high on the list of the issues that are not easy to talk about, and the NFL and league owners have historically reacted in a completely tone deaf manner on this issues.

I’m pretty sure no one would posit that Roger Goodell and his team made anyone proud with their response to the Ray Rice situation. I am being honest when I say that I’m not convinced that a player should be cut from the sport entirely if he is accused or convicted of these crimes. What I am convinced of here is that as fans, this is something we need to take seriously.

Last August, Ryan Glasspiegel over at TheBigLead.com wrote a column examining how and why the media maelstrom seemed to be solely focused on Rice. The whole thing is a worthy read, but perhaps the most salient point as a female fan was this:

"“With regards to Ray Rice, the NFL was clearly caught off-guard by the seismic shift in our perceptions. As of yet, it’s unclear whether the outrage of this past week represents a blip, or the beginning of a trend.”"

I would argue that it shouldn’t be seen as a trend at all. It should just be seen as the correct culture shift to the way it’s supposed to be and how the league decides to handle Greg Hardy is what we should to be paying the most attention to now.

I am cognizant that I have no idea what happened behind closed doors, nor do I know what he has said or done in private since then. But Hardy’s public actions since his arrest, conviction, appeal, deactivation and voluntary leave of absence don’t feel like someone who is taking time to assess his issues and get his life in order.

Maybe it’s that he seemed more intent on reigniting his rap career than seeking outside help for the issues that seem to be synonymous with his name. Maybe it’s his lack of contrition beyond feeling badly about ‘distracting his teammates.’

Some might contend that the off the field issues the Cowboys organization have dealt with make this a non-issue. But for an organization that has taken the creation of culture and investment in the ‘Right Kind of Guys’ as seriously as they have under head coach Jason Garrett’s tenure, I’d say this is about two dozen red flags too many.

Let’s also be honest, most of this speculation is just that and it’s just as likely to not even be something the Cowboys are even considering. Moreover, we cannot forget that this is an organization that is home to one of the most powerful females in football.

Charlotte Jones Anderson is not only responsible for the maintenance of the Cowboys brand, but it’s widely recognized that she’s expanded the female fan base of the organization, which has been instrumental to it’s continued success. She might not be in charge of player personnel, but I am willing to bet that if she has an opinion on how the public perception of a player might impact those entities, she’d voice it.

I recognize that players are humans – just like they are not always going to perform perfectly on the field, they will not always be perfect off it. But for a group of young men who are blessed enough to play a sport they presumable love FOR THEIR JOB, I think we need to have pretty high expectations for the type of character we expect them to exhibit. And when they don’t meet those, they need to be held accountable, both by their league and the people they represent: their fans.

I have a lot of views on player safety, labor laws, drug policies, etc. None of those issues make me question my loyalty as a fan. But, we all have to have to know what we stand for and the limits therein. This is my line in sand.

Next: Dallas Cowboys Full Seven Round 2015 Mock Draft