Monday, February 9, 2015

Greg Hardy free to play somewhere -- but it should not be Carolina

Now that the domestic violence case against Greg Hardy has been suddenly dismissed, he definitely has an NFL future somewhere.

But I do not believe it should be in Charlotte. I don't think he should ever play for the Carolina Panthers again.

Hardy is a free man, yes, and he will be on the open market March 10th when the NFL's free agency period begins. He is 26, in what should be the prime of his career. And he had 15 sacks in 2013 -- the last time he played a full year in the NFL.

But to me, Hardy is too much of a risk for a big contract, and the emotional baggage he carries is too considerable for the Panthers to lock into any sort of financial agreement with him again as they think about their offseason plan.

Somebody is going to pay him. It shouldn't be the Panthers.

Hardy was supposed to go on trial -- again -- on misdemeanor domestic violence charges Monday. Instead, the case fell apart and was dismissed when the prosecution could not secure the cooperation of Nicole Holder, Hardy's former girlfriend and the woman who originally charged him.

District attorney Andrew Murray said in court that his office believed Holder and Hardy had reached a financial settlement. In a press release, the DA's office also said: "The victim appears to have intentionally made herself unavailable to the State. The DA's Office has also been made aware that the victim has reached a civil settlement with Mr. Hardy."

And, the DA's office said, "Without her testimony, in this particular instance, the State could not proceed." The DA's office had all sorts of trouble finding the elusive Holder, apparently, although it's pretty hard to believe in this day and age she could not be found -- even though she obviously didn't want to be found.

This doesn't mean for sure Hardy won't be suspended by the NFL, but I think it's likely he will not be. Roger Goodell could suspend him for detrimental conduct, I suppose, but legally his record is now clear.

So why not have Hardy apologize to Jerry Richardson and his teammates, fall on whatever type of sword a Kraken carries and then simply come back to Carolina at a reasonable price?

Because I don't think he can be trusted, and ultimately I don't think the price will be that reasonable.

Look at how last year turned out. The Panthers paid Hardy $13.1 million, effectively hijacking their own salary cap, and he played in one game. Not because of an injury he couldn't help, but because of an off-field issue. If this were going to be settled out of court, I am sure every Panther fan is asking why it wasn't settled before the 2014 season rather than after it concluded.

The Panthers' defense did OK without Hardy, finishing No. 10 in total defense last season. As a team, with No.76 on the field, it's undeniable they are better. Carolina could technically use another one-year franchise tag on him, this time at a price of $15.7 million.

But it's not always just about talent. Somebody is going to take a risk on Hardy, because NFL teams are desperate for pass rushers in their prime.

The Panthers, though, already know how that can turn out. After Monday, Hardy is free to go elsewhere. And that is exactly what he should do.

Joe Person on Greg Hardy's future:

42 comments:

par said...

Scott: How credible was the acquisition when the accuser does not respond to calls, letters or shows up in court. A gold digger. Panthers should reconsider taking him back.

Anonymous said...

Scott, You are just saying this to charge up the fan base and draw attention your article. The fact is every player is one step away form embarrassing the franchise and the NFL.

Anonymous said...

I disagree! If he has a strong desire to stay with Carolina and do whatever it takes to get the forgiveness of the front office then we should give him a second chance. Case Closed!

highlandangel said...

I have absolutely no opinion on Greg Hardy. But you obviously have no idea what happens in domestic violence court, or court in general. Victims disappear all the time in criminal court, and domestic violence court is even worse. Additionally, Hardy wasn't being "tried again," he was utilizing his constitutional right to trial by jury, something every defendant is entitled to. Additionally, most DAs' have policies regarding domestic violence prosecution, which are not affected by civil settlements. Before you jump on him, or anyone else, learn what you are talking about.

David Wright said...

Umm...this seems really personal for you. Unless I'm missing something this isn't "again" it's a legal process related to the same allegation. He clearly felt he was innocent of the charge or at least there were mitigating circumstances which he decided to pursue it. He didn't have to.

Greg Hardy was prepared to play all year--he didn't hijack the salary cap--the NFL and the Panthers made the decision for him not to be available/give him the money. Hardy effectively served Ray Rice's punishment--not his own. If they had treated him fairly, he would have served a six game sentence...but it's not his fault the NFL couldn't get it together and the rhetoric is interesting that you are choosing.

Also this whole thing has been weird and fishy since the beginning and as I said above, would have been treated differently in another year.

AND, does Greg Hardy have some kind of long rap sheet? I hadn't heard of other abuse charges--even the hint of it.

I get it--we're offended by bad behavior and abuse is inexcusable--but it's never been really clear that these weren't two bad, drunk people making really bad decisions and creating an ugly situation--but not entirely sure people have been fair to him making the bad night into a lifelong tag.

Anonymous said...

So your only argument is look how last year turned out. Lets not forget that its the panthers and leaque that chose to suspend him more because of Ray Rice than anything he did. Lets not forget that he is the one that called 911 on her. I still don't believe anything she said and when it came time to prove it she ran. Sign the man and lets get on with it.

Anonymous said...

Apparently you people don't get it but Scott does: if this was never going to trial, and was settled with a lot of money out of court, then why didn't "Mr Team Player" do it sooner so he could have helped us this year? My take is that he was protecting himself from injury and his big paycheck next year....Get it now?

Anonymous said...

Scott, really! you have got to be kidding me! He wants to stay in charlotte he is dedicated to this team! Okay, he got in trouble, what kind of bone head crap did you get into that was not skylined. Oh I forgot, you were never 26, made millions of dollars and more importantly you never made any mistakes! If everyone walked this fairytale "stay of out trouble" line, we all would be walking on water. The bottom line, is he made a mistake, it has been adjudicated and now it is time to line down and play football! Remember he was with this team during the bad times as well! Least we forgot!

Anonymous said...

The Panthers should get him for 0 under the cap for next year since they had to pay him not to play this year. The Panthers and their fans got totally gypped by this NFL policy.

Clay said...

Settle down Scott there's no reason not to offer him a reasonable team friendly contract.

He's a complete unpredictable bonehead but he's far better than any other lineman we have. Steve Smith was way more of a volatile pain in the butt than Hardy ever has been.

Charges dismissed, this is not the priesthood, sign him now!

Anonymous said...

I disagree with your opinion. It is interesting the number of opinions existing around this case. I wonder if we will ever know the REAL story.

Anonymous said...

Why couldn't it happen last year? Because it required a court date to be assigned in order for key witness to no-show. The accuser can't simply say 'I want to drop charges' so this is the next best option when a settlement happens on the side. This is the earliest this could have happened.

Anonymous said...

Whoever wrote they think Hardy tried to avoid injury and wait for a big paycheck sounds like a blind fool to me!he would have played every single game if deemed allowed but since all the domestic propoganda around the NFL this year the Panthers chose to remove him from a spotlight and wait for his trial. Now that he is legally in the clear we should sign him and move forward, just my opinion

An the reporter seems to make any articles he can with no actual knowledge of the subjects. Gettleman shut down his question on Hardy so this is the BS he writes

Charlottean said...

If he's willing to play for a million or less for the upcoming season and do a ton of community service work and actually CHANGE the guy that he has been.......

the panthers should support that and help him become a better person. pro sports isn't the professional world and it never will be. he will get signed elsewhere if not this year than next year. and he'll be a bad person there, too.

take the opportunity to help a person change. and make a serious impact on the kind of thing that got both parties to this crossroads right now.

he's widely suspected to be guilty of doing something almost every player in nfl history has done: assault or batter another human.

How many of these guys tortured some kid in high school or middle school? or punched a guy at a bar? or actually had a domestic incident as bad as hardy's that went unreported?

breaking the cycle and civilizing is so much more important than saving face in the eye of the public.

and i'm saying this with the caveat that i'd be 100% ok with him getting the million to play on the practice squad as long as they were actually rehabbing the guy off the field.

13 million is a sunk cost, but that doesn't mean the right move is to walk away from the situation now.

Preston Moody said...

Scott you clearly have something personal against Hardy or something. What ever to get the readers huh. Greg Hardy case was dismissed. Therefore we as Panther fans should support a player of his stature. We already ran Peppers off now you want to do the same with Hardy. How about writing an article on women who pray on athletes and their money and then disappear after making those type of allegations. Hardy deserve to be here, his teammates wants him here. If the rules are the rules then by law his record is flawless and deserve another chance.

C K R said...

If the Panthers are truly interested in fielding the best team they possibly can, they will make the effort, seems to me they are out to win the most wholesome award, It's hard to imagine Jerry Richardson not forgiving someone's transgressions, especially when they were unfounded, time will tell but it will be hard to swallow if they make little to no effort and still want top dollar for the tickets and souvenirs

Anonymous said...

ummmm people, lets not forget the KEY statement made by the DA....he said "he and his office "BELIEVES" some sort of financial transaction took place".....that's not a FACT! Lets not make the mistake of believing the DA's hypothesis and condemn Greg for a payoff that we really don't know actually really exist! For all we know, the DA is just using his platform as a last ditch effort to discredit that man bcuz he didn't and WONT have the opportunity to try to do it in a court proceeding!

Unknown said...

Could not disagree with you more. The Panthers should try to get him back. Essentially, it is as if this never happened, to be honest.

The Panthers would be foolish to just let him walk if he is willing to play here for slightly less. He is an elite Defensive End.

Anonymous said...

He should take a home town discount and save us some $$$ then we sign a big time WR and draft a solid LT.... If only that could happen

Anonymous said...

Keep Greg hardy because he shouldn't be let go ! He said hell play for free rivera wants him back in is trying to find away to bring him back so good news there? The case is close in hardy shouldnt receive any more time off the field the NFL got that wrong on how they handle the his case they need to better there system before getting into a case hardy in rice have to different cases in they live too different life's

Anonymous said...

Scott get a life in be some other team writer because your a joke! Hardy loves the team he has been with from the day we drafted him so nook off your BS in stop writing things so you can get views?

Anonymous said...

I think Hardy should get a chance to play. Scott we dont need him because we were a top 10 defense. Well maybe we will be a top 5 defensive team with him and defense wins superbowls. Everybody screws up. Hell we kept kerry collins around with his B.S going on. Remeber the cigar photo of him being realeased from jail? A slap in the Panthers face. Let the guy appoligize to the team give him a chance

Cyteria Knight said...

Scott, on most days I find you very critical, judgemental, and somewhat self-serving. As it turns out you have stayed true to form. You obviously have the belief that Greg Hardy was guilty from the very beginning. As a woman, former social worker, and domestic violence advocate I can tell you that I have had doubts about Ms. Holder's veracity since the very beginning and was interested in hearing more of the facts of this case because based on the information that we were privey to from the first hearing, I was amazed by the judge's ruling. This case appeared to me to be more about poor decision-making on the part of both "young and dumb" parties instead of a serious domestic violence case. Oh, and by the way settlement does not always imply guilt. Also your implication that somehow this kid was interested in taking the Panther's money and then taking the year off is preposterous and insulting. Greg Hardy wanted to play football. (And get paid). I think Greg should be given a second chance and he should sign a league minimum contract with the Panthers on a 1 year prove-it deal.

Did you hear what I said...

The REAL story is that the lawyers paid Nicole to keep quiet. Hardy didn't settle earlier because he didn't get his $13M butt-sittin' money in a lump sum. He collected his check each payday as if he was playing. Best to have all your cash in hand before making a deal. Wouldn't want to risk a sum before you had it in the bank lest the NFL or the Panthers figured out some way to wrangle out it.

No question he's a good player. But if the Panthers would be obligated to pay him a total of $28M (13 in 2014 plus 15 in 2015) just to get in a full year's play, he can go play elsewhere for a while as far as I'm concerned.

No way he makes the $15M next year as a free agent. Let him start over at his new market price. And maybe sign him back again in a couple years.

Ted C said...

Well Scott, the people have spoken.
Next year, when Gregg gets back on the field as a Panther and makes his awesome plays, I hope you remember your biased criticism of him.

Anonymous said...

Steve Smith pummeled a young man out of a career, but it was OK for him to stay.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

You are being unrealistic here. Greg Hardy more than served his time (it should have been a maximum 4 game suspension)he missed an entire season thanks to Goodell being an incompetent Commissioner. This happened at 4am at a party with several other people around. This sounds to me like a crazy Holder (on drugs) and Hardy getting into an argument. Like someone else on here said, Hardy was punished for Ray Rice's crime. We should absolutely consider bringing Hardy back, this is football Scott you do realize that right? According to your philosophy we should also get rid of many other players for various reasons. Did you write a piece about Jeffrey Taylor of the Hornets?? He is playing right now and being supported by Hornets Fans. Oh you must just be outraged....oh wait you have ignored that story

Anonymous said...

I agree that he is a risk and should not be back. Not because of anything to do with this situation and the ultimate outcome, but who he associates with. It was obvious what the lady was after and she got it....money. Any professional athlete that dates a cocktail waitress has association issues.

bill Crane said...

if he wants to play with Carolina and is serious about that and is willing to play for something less this year than why not? If it helps the team, why not?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this thread of comments that would welcome him back to the Panthers.

Hardy hasn't showed contrition nor will he ever. He is fool's gold.

Save your time and energy and look for others to replace him.

He has a history of stupid and careless decisions. How many chances does he need?

He spent all this off season in Miami and not supporting his team. He abandoned them. Let's not think he is some sort of reformed person.

That begins with being honest and seeking forgiveness. Neither of which has occured.

Anonymous said...

Is this article a joke? Why we would not remain in carolina? If we don't resign him someone in the nfc south will and he will make us pay just like smitty did. He will have the pleasure to do it twice a year though!

Anonymous said...

Dude u should be fired for trying to insight a kracken riot! U aren't a real panther fan and need to be run out of the carolinas! Hardy is and still should be a panther. He said that he'd play for free and just wants to be a panther again. How apoligetic is that clown? He wants to be here and his teammates and the majority of the fans want him back so get a life! Gettleman is a clown too if he lets hardy walk and terrorize us for the next 10 years! Plus we barely had forty sacks and couldn't get consistent pressure at anytime that's why seattle waxed us. U obviously didn't watch that game huh?

Anonymous said...

Football aside, some of these comments are rather disturbing. I know some of it is a case of homer-ism, but stop trying to justify his actions and claim his innocence based on the accusers decision to take money. Is Holder the most morally sound person? Based on what we've seen and heard, absolutely not. I'm sure she played an antagonizing role that night and it's no surprise she took money over going to court. But anyone one who has heard the details of this case, as I'm sure we all have, can safely assume that a 6'4" behemoth of a dude assaulted and threatened a woman. In no way shape or form should that ever be acceptable or excused no matter how skewed the victims own priorities are or what role she played that night. Doing so is an injustice to victims who don't take money, or never get their day in court. Even if holder started it, you are a grown a$$ man and no man, ever has a need to hit a woman, period. We all make mistakes and most of those mistakes should warrant a second chance, but not this. And especially for someone who was arrogant enough to never even show remorse, just sit in his house and make 13 million for doing absolutely nothing.

Been a panther fan my whole life, but I don't want to watch that guy on my team, he's a coward.

Anonymous said...

Scott, this article has caused me to lose respect for you, as a credible sports columist.
For sometime now, I have read your articles with enjoyment; even when I disagreed with you.
I do not recall ever reading anything from you, that was as vicious, biased, and under-informed, as this one.
We get it. You do not like Greg Hardy.

Eddie Ramirez said...

I think most fans, myself included, would like to have him back. He did say in the season he had strong desires to stay with the team. If his conviction has been overturned, I don't see why we shouldn't bring him back. A player of his caliber is hard to find. If he takes a discount for the team, I think we should. And from what I'm seeing, a lot of fans want him back. I would not like to see him go to another team and then regret what we do.

Anonymous said...

If you remember he said he would play the next year for free after the got the 13.1 mil. for one game.

Anonymous said...

Scott,just the facts please. Fact #1 he`s innocent. Fact#2 you`re an overpaid dumbass

Sportsdon said...

It really only matters what JR thinks. All the other opinions are background noise.

My opinion of JR is that he is very old school and guilty or innocent, Hardy directly created a situation that embarrassed him and the team. A situation that was avoidable and would get most of us fired with no pay.

His actions hurt the team all year and without any statement of remorse or contrition I don't see how you can trust him to not do something stupid again.

Fred Johnson said...

No way Hardy plays for Carolina next year.

Ironically, if he was a college player at UNC Chapel Hill, he wouldn't have been suspended in the first place. The girl would have faced some scrutiny though-

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to due process? Hardy was punished by not being allowed to play more than one game for a crime for which he was accused of but not convicted of by a jury of his peers. Next season someone should accuse Brady or Wilson of something, have them suspended, and then maybe we can beat them! All it takes now is an accusation. The NFL has taken the step down the slippery slope.

voiceofreason said...

Why wouldn't the Panthers bring him back. The Hornets gave Jeff Taylor a second chance, and he pleaded guilty. The Panthers are a better team with Hardy. I hope the Panthers give him another chance. He deserves it.

Anonymous said...

I believe EVERYBODY should be given a second chance. If someone would have abused me, I would have seen this case to the heavens if I had too. It's women like this who makes it hard for women who have truly been abused. She should be made to pay Hardy. Be a woman and stand up for yourself!! It's obvious that she was only after money!!! Carolina Panthers, please bring him back, let the man live!!