By Ray Boyd
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is a certain sense of morality that we place on our athletes. Whether you agree with it or not, when athletes commit certain moral violations, they get judged whether fairly or unfairly.
However, there is another widely accepted norm that says those athletes deserve a second chance to continue making their living in their sport.
Last season, the NFL dealt with the very real issue of domestic violence. The number of situations were way more than what any working environment would want to deal with, especially one that happens to be in front of millions of Americans on a daily basis.
One of the circumstances was that of former Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy. The former Pro Bowler recorded 15 sacks in 2013, but only had one in 2014. Why the drop? Hardy only played in one game due to a domestic violence incident involving his former girlfriend.
In July 2014, Hardy was found guilty of misdemeanor domestic violence after he was accused of striking his former girlfriend. Hardy appealed his conviction and eventually the case was dismissed.
Hardy spent the majority of last season on Roger Goodell’s exempt list and the Panthers chose to part ways with Hardy, who at 26, is arguably very much in his prime.
They decided to disassociated themselves with Hardy and the Cowboys have decided to cash in. On Wednesday, the team announced that they were signing Hardy to a one-year, incentive packed deal.
If Hardy doesn’t play, which is possible because he could still face punishment from the league, he will barely make any money. Hardy’s deal will reportedly pay him $13 million if he reaches all of his incentives, but his base salary is reportedly only $745,000.
Hardy’s signing has caused quite a stir and no one has reacted more passionately than Dallas sports broadcaster Dale Hansen, who went on a passionate rant about why the Cowboys signing of Hardy was hypocritical and that the team should be ashamed of the deal.
“Greg Hardy’s jersey is being sold at the Cowboys online pro shop now,” Hansen said. “You could get one for your sister or daughter and then explain to her that Hardy beats up women, but we’re cheering him now because he’s really good on game day, and game day is all that really matters to me.
“Your daughter will understand,” Hansen said sarcastically.
The broadcaster went on to call Jerry Jones to task for accepting Hardy on his team and Jason Garrett for preaching about seeking out character guys to play for the Cowboys, but continuing to bring in players for second chances.
It is hard to argue about second chances. Who in life would not want an opportunity to redeem themselves after making a mistake?
On the other hand, what message does it send to your fan base and your community when you sign certain players with the understanding that you will not be able to use the “high character,” speech that most teams love to give.
We all like to think that it’s all about wins and losses, but is it really? That appears to be a question we all have to answer for ourselves.
The Sports Beyond Measure Podcast is a weekly sports podcast that delivers a fun perspective on the latest headlines in national sports, Philadelphia professional sports and community-based sports. The series is hosted by 94 WIP’s Vince Quinn, Ray Boyd and Eric “Turtle” Golden. You can download/subscribe for free on iTunes.