One of the most beloved Dallas Cowboys of all-time is speaking out against the signing of free-agent defensive end Greg Hardy. In an interview last week, Roger Staubach, the Hall-of-Fame quarterback nicknamed Captain America because of his remarkable play on the field and strong moral code off it, expressed his disapproval of the Hardy signing.
"“If I was making the decision, it probably wouldn’t have been good for the Cowboys.” Staubach told KTXK-AM The Ticket during a radio interview last Friday. “I wouldn’t really enjoy being in the locker room with someone I knew was a domestic violence person.”"
Hardy is one of a number of players who have drawn negative attention to the National Football League by committing acts of domestic violence against women.
More from The Landry Hat
- 3 ways Cowboys’ Dak Prescott can have a bounce-back season in 2023
- Cowboys News: Dallas sets pre-draft visit with potential Dalton Schultz upgrade
- NFL executives heaping praise on offseason is uncharted territory for Cowboys
- 3 free agent signings from NFC East rivals that left Cowboys fans laughing
- Cowboys News: Brandin Cooks sends flattering message to CeeDee Lamb, Stephon Gilmore
Many fans feel like the incidents of criminal activity committed by NFL players is on the rise. But keep in mind that Staubach played with teammates who were no saints.
Linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson inhaled liquid cocaine through and asthma inhaler during games and was eventually arrested on drug-related charges (which included smoking cocaine with two underage girls, one of which accused Henderson of sexual misconduct) pleading no contest.
Another teammate of Staubach’s, kicker Rafael Septien who kicked for the Cowboys for nine seasons (including the final two seasons of Staubach’s career) was indicted on charges of indecency with a child in 1987. He would plead guilty to the charges earning him a 10-year probation sentence and an immediate release from the Dallas Cowboys.
Staubach admits that times have changed and that he may have unknowingly had teammates who were committing similar acts admitting that in the modern age of media, the public knows much more about the personal lives of players.
Staubach played in an era where the media protected the secrets of the players making the fans believe that each team was a collection of Boy Scouts and choirboys. Today’s media is more aggressive and competitive and the girth of media outlets affords fans unprecedented knowledge about the lives of professional athletes.
There is no question that domestic violence is a heinous crime and those convicted should be held responsible by the justice system. But the NFL has always been about winning, despite what people chose to believe about the good old days of the Landry era.
While I agree with Staubach’s sentiment that violence against women is disgusting and cowardly (having a close family member who has been victimized by this crime), for anyone to believe that fielding a competitive team in today’s NFL can be achieved by employing only the most upstanding citizens is naive at best. Disagreeing with Roger Staubach borders on heresy but the reality is that the NFL is about winning not putting together a Sunday school class.
On Tuesday, Nancy Armour of USAToday.com published an article stating that teams should be punished by the league for signing players guilty of domestic violence (aiming most of her venom at the Chicago Bears after the recent arrest of newly acquired free-agent Ray McDonald who was arrested Monday on charges of domestic violence and child endangerment, but specifically mentioning Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones as well).
If Armour’s standard were applied to society, would any one convicted of domestic violence be able to work again, even if the person had undergone counseling and was reformed? If corporations or businesses were punished or taxed for giving someone a second or third chance then certainly not.
Hardy may not be the most upstanding citizen in the world but he can help the Cowboys on the field, which is what he has been hired to do. Staubach’s competitive streak is legendary and some of his teammates were convicted of crimes yet he seemed to be fine playing along side them because they helped his team win two Super Bowl Titles, so why should Greg Hardy be any different?
Living in a world full of flawed, dangerous and even criminal people means that the workplace will be populated with people one may not want to team with. And while the NFL should continue to raise public awareness of domestic violence, the goal of any business, including the operation of an NFL franchise is to be successful and if the business chooses to employ talented people with a risky background, that should be their prerogative.
Each time Staubach hoisted one of his two Lombardi Trophies; he no doubt celebrated those titles with teammates whose character was lacking.
And in those moments it is hard to conceive that even Captain America was focused on the rap sheet of anyone in the room. Rather, he was bathing in champagne and hugging anyone he could find, probably even those for whom he didn’t particularly care.