I am not the first man to wave my finger and shake my head at Greg Hardy. I don't think there's anyone who has made excuses for his particular domestic abuse case. But there is a segment of the population that is willing to forget. These are not necessarily bad people. They're usually those who look at professional sports as a video game and the players in it, nothing more than characters off the field. Sadly, thugs like Ray Rice and Greg Hardy have forced us to realize these men have lives off the field. I'm not saying that no one deserves a second chance. I've defended Rice and his now wife in the past, by saying that the fact that they're still together doesn't make him a monster or her weak willed. We don't know the inner workings of their relationship. And I'm not suggesting that Greg Hardy should never be allowed to work again. I'm saying I don't want him on a team that I root for.
Over the last few years I've been a huge defender of outspoken athletes and celebrities. Our country has entered a state of perpetual outrage that wants to defend every group. Even Charles Barkley came under fire for joking about the weight of women in San Antonio. Because, hey, we all know Texas is known for sticking to salads and P90X right? In today's society sticks and stones can break your bones but words can ruin your life. While I hear the argument that "free speech comes with consequences" on a weekly basis, the consequences of domestic violence in the public eye is brushed off unless we see the video. It's impossible not to remember the NFL choosing to suspend Ray Rice for only two games before the security footage of his savage beating leaked. During that same month, we saw people like Adam Richman and Anthony Cumia lose their jobs over things they said on Twitter and Instagram. Now I defended Cumia and Richman on social media and was called a racist or sexist for advocating for, not what they said, but their ability to say it. I was told that free speech comes with responsibility and that these men did not properly represent their companies. So did Rice and Hardy represent the NFL with great honor? Because they were allowed to keep their jobs, until the NFL felt guilty for shrugging off woman beating as "shit happens". If a Mel Gibson movie was released today, there would be protests at theaters across America from African American, Jewish, and women's groups for the things that he said. But when Ray Rice showed up to Ravens training camp last summer, he was met with applause and support. If you don't remember who John Rocker is, just think of Kenny Powers with less class and public speaking ability. He was essentially blacklisted from baseball after saying all kinds of racist and homophobic things. But Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, Donte Stallworth, Leonard Little and others were allowed back into the NFL after serving brief suspensions.
You say that, as a Patriots fan, I am a hypocrite because I loved Randy Moss. In fact, Randy Moss was one of my favorite athletes. If you have the balls to claim Randy Moss and Greg Hardy are in the same category you're an idiot. Let's go over Moss's days as a naughty boy. He smoked weed in college. That claim is about equal to saying he's guilty of breathing in college. He had that incident with the meter maid where he did what we've all wanted to do to a meter maid at some point, bump them with our car. He coined the phrase "Straight cash homey" which has done nothing but give us a great clip for sports talk radio. And, ah yes, he did the most disgusting act that Joe Buck has ever seen. He pretended to pull down his pants in front of Packers fans. Greg Hardy gave one of the more savage beatings I've ever heard described to a woman who didn't quite stack up to his professional athlete measurements. I'll let you decide which of these two men is worse.
Maybe I'm being overly sensitive. Maybe it is important to protect peoples feeling from mean words. Maybe it's far less important to set an example and stop thugs like Greg Hardy from brutally beating women. But the NFL told me I was right. The NFL are the ones I heard the idea of No More from. You know, when they hired trained actors to cry on cue for the camera in ads telling up we need to stop domestic violence. They told us to stop making excuses for these people. They said it's up to us to take action. No more ignoring it and turning a blind eye, they told us. It would be nice if Roger Goodell and the NFL started taking their own advice. I only ask that Robert Kraft and the New England Patriots do just that.