Greg Hardy will return to the field this week from a four-game suspension (previously 10 games) for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. Hardy was convicted of assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend last year, which resulted in him missing all but one game while sitting on the commissioner's exempt list. The case was dismissed after the victim declined to cooperate with authorities during the court appeal.
Still, the initial details of the case were harrowing. Hardy allegedly strangled the victim, slammed her against a futon and threw her on a couch covered with firearms. The NFL felt it had enough evidence to suspend the defensive end, now with the Dallas Cowboys. The suspension was reduced largely because an arbitrator felt that the NFL's initial 10-game suspension went beyond its own policy guidelines.
Suffice it to say, there is still a lot of murkiness surrounding Hardy's case, which makes it a little disturbing that he showed little contrition while being interviewed by reporters ahead of his 2015 season debut against the New England Patriots this Sunday.
On his last two seasons:
Greg Hardy on if he is reflective of his last two years: "What’s that? I’m not reflecting on sacks, man. I haven’t had one in two years."— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) October 6, 2015
On Tom Brady and his wife:
Greg Hardy: "I love seeing Tom Brady. You seen his wife? I hope she comes to the game. I hope her sister comes to the game..."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 6, 2015
And a poor choice of words:
Greg Hardy: "I hope I come out guns blazing. I'm full of excitement and full of juice. I'm ready to go."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 6, 2015
After sitting more than a year because of a domestic violence scandal, Hardy celebrated his return with remarks that were flippant, sexist and, most notably, tone deaf to the seriousness of the allegations that were levied against him.
That doesn't much matter, however. He's returning to the football field because the market demands it.
"It's all about football," Hardy told reporters. "That's what they paid for. And I love my fans, so I would not dare let them down."
The lead-in to that response was a question asking how much of Hardy's return was about football and how much was proving himself as the man he can be. He made no mistake about his priorities.
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SB Nation presents: How not to get arrested for domestic violence