Still At It

As you may have heard, Greg Hardy of the Dallas Cowboys is at it again. He was recently caught on camera on the sideline in the football game against the New York Giants freaking out, pushing and shoving his teammates and attacking special-teams coach Rich Bisaccia, knocking his clipboard down in the process. The aftermath was most interesting as owner Jerry Jones excused Hardy’s behavior and admired his “passion.” (That’s another word these days for “‘roid-rage”).

A brief story provides some of the nonsense passing for excuses these days as pampered athletes are so often out of control, slapped on the wrist, and then quietly worked back into the system only to go off the deep end again:

“He wanted to get in there and kind of get after some of the guys a little bit, maybe get them fired up,” Bisaccia said. “It was just not the right time. It’s really not an issue. I just had to communicate what we were going to do next on the return, so I just really wanted him to move on so we could get going.”

Teammates were also quick to come to Hardy’s side, giving him a pass because of his reputation for being an emotional player.

Added McCray: “It was surprising he was in there. I know when he came, he kind of pushed me a little bit. I just didn’t realize who he was. I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, who is this?’ Once you realize it’s Greg, you’re like, ‘We need to make a play.’ We understand that was our fault to give up that lead and he was just showing us the passion to show us we need to fix it.”

Hardy was playing just his second game back from a suspension he earned after his domestic violence arrest last year. He made flippant remarks before his season debut, showing little remorse for the victim of the crime for which he was convicted before the case was dismissed. After those two games he is already tied for the team lead in sacks with three.

To clarify the last paragraph: a couple of years ago Hardy was found guilty in a court of law of beating his girl friend and throwing her down on a bed filled with assault weapons. He was suspended with pay for a year by the NFL and later given an added four-game suspension (without pay). Upon his return he said he would come out “with guns blazing” and made snickering remarks about Tom Brady’s wife, who is apparently very attractive. He’s a piece of work, this man.

In a fairly lengthy discussion of the incident on ESPN I was surprised and delighted to hear Tommy Jackson and Chris Carter, both former NFL players, condemning not only Hardy’s actions but the lame comments that were supposed to excuse his behavior. Carter, for example, noted that this gave him a “snapshot” of what Hardy’s girlfriend must have seen up close and real when Hardy turned on her. Jackson said he wouldn’t want to play alongside such a player whom he would constantly fear. Both condemned his behavior without reservation — as they did the excuses provided by Jerry Jones.

What is most interesting about this entire incident, which seems almost familiar these days, is the fact that Jones, whom Carter described as “the great enabler,” was clearly only interested in the fact that Hardy is an outstanding player and his “other problems” were beside the point. No, Jerry, these “other problems” are precisely the point. Like it or not, athletes are role models for our kids, and huge men who hit women should not be regarded as heroes. This is a time when the NFL is trying desperately to live down its reputation as the place where former (or current) felons go to work and play for obscene salaries.  This sort of behavior is not good for the NFL’s “image” — and should not be dismissed as merely a man exhibiting his “emotions.”

One must suspect that PEDs are involved — or is it possible that these men, who are literally larger than life, really have violent tempers from birth? It beggars belief. In any event, one can be assured this will not be the last “incident” involving huge men out of control. Gone are the days of self-control and the development of character as heroic.

Speaking of those days, I am reminded of a comment penned by Thomas Jefferson back in 1810 while describing kings and which seems so apt today of a great many of us, but especially the spoiled athlete:

“Now, take any race of animals, confine them in idleness and inaction, whether in a stye, a stable, or a stateroom, pamper them with high diet, gratify all their sexual appetites, immerse them in sensibilities, nourish their passions, let everything bend before them, and banish whatever might lead them to think, and in a few generations they become all body and no mind.”

Apt, indeed, though in this age of entitlement it doesn’t take “generations” for this to occur. Witness Greg Hardy.

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