Two days before the Dallas Cowboys take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, Deadspin has dropped an extensively detailed report of what occurred on the night that Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy was arrested for assault in 2014. Hardy, Nicole Holder and other friends spent most of the night bar hopping, then went to Hardy's place.
"It all happened very, very quickly," Holder told police. "None of it really made much sense."
She and Hardy were on the bed inside the apartment’s smaller bedroom, getting along fine, when Hardy started bringing up the past. He called her a slut, she said, and accused her of ruining their relationship.
"I tried to get up, he pushed me," she said, "then I started fighting back, he threw me into the bathroom, I hit the back of the shower wall and fell into the bathtub where he pulled me out."
He dragged her out by her hair and picked her up again, she said, throwing her onto the futon, which had several weapons—what she described as "guns from ... the Army or ... I mean like from video games"—on it. She landed on top of the rifles and then fell onto the floor. In her telling, he stood above her and strangled her with both his hands. She would later tell Detective Faye Strother that she thought she was going to die. "His pupils were tiny," she said. "I mean he looked ... crazy."
What did Hardy do next? He called 911, and claimed he was the victim, claimed that Holder had stalked him and was trying to kill him. Meanwhile security at Hardy's residential complex was also calling 911, and asked police to come and then they could "talk about it when they get here" while another person in the room, Kristina Laurence, could be heard in the background pleading for Holder's safety.
When the police arrived, Holder was initially reluctant to put any blame on Hardy.
Officer Andrew Prentice asked Holder where the scratches on her arm came from. She said nothing had happened all. Later, she said she did it to herself. She refused to give a statement. One person was talking though—Laurence.
"Laurence," wrote Officer Abraham Kim, "advised that she was upset because she heard Holder being beat and now Holder does not care about what happened. Laurence advised that she would tell officers everything because the assault that occurred needed to be documented."
Holder at first told officers she fell down the stairs, but they didn't believe her. Eventually, she started to open up, but wasn't willing to go on the record.
In a separate report, [Officer Christopher] Martin summarized what Holder told him that night. Martin talked to Holder about why it was important for her to give a statement about what happened. She "admitted to me that the suspect ‘beat the hell’ out of her but would not elaborate," he wrote.
She also told Martin "if she ever did anything to damage his career that he would kill her."
Police at the scene, and then workers at a hospital the next day, took photographs of Holder's numerous bruises. Deadspin has photos from both, and they are graphic.
During this time, the weapons that were laying about Hardy's residence were cleaned up. Hardy was unable to give a straight story about events that night, claiming he didn't know Holder, then claiming he didn't know she would be at the bar he met up with her at, then saying he did. An officer had a supervisor listen to the 911 call and compare it to the story that Hardy told him, the two did not mesh.
In July, Hardy was found guilty in a bench trial. But Holder disappeared, with those who knew her refusing to aid prosecutors in locating here. Upon appeal in January, with no victim to take the stand to smooth over what inconsistencies they had, the prosecution dismissed the charges. Holder is believed to have taken a payoff to disappear.
The NFL suspended Hardy for 10 games, a fitting sentence for someone who committed a violent crime then likely paid hush money to make it go away. Hardy appealed and won, and the suspension was reduced to four games.
Since returning to the field in October, Hardy has made more headlines for his actions off the field. He made childish remarks about coming out "guns blazing" against the Patriots, and also made childish comments about Tom Brady's wife. He got into a shouting match and shoved a coach, slapping away his clipboard, which Jason Garrett described as an attempt to inspire.
"The leadership aspect comes in different ways. First of all, to really be a leader on a football team, talking the talk without walking the walk doesn't happen," Jones said. "Real leaders are really outstanding football players. So they get it done and through that they earn a great deal of respect by their teammates. My view is totally through the eyes of within the team, what the team thinks. What they think of each other, how hard are they willing to support each other when you do get in this competitive times. It is the role of an individual.
"It is not not necessarily a guy who gives a Knute Rockne talk. It can be done through sheer ability on the field."
"His effort, his basic aggressiveness, which is an absolute must to play the game and play the position, has just absolutely been something if you have any knowledge or an appreciation for football, when he talks you listen," Jones said.
Greg Hardy is not a leader. He's not an inspiration. He's a violent person who has shown no remorse for his actions, and has embraced a villain role rather when mature. He doesn't get it. He might never get it. Playing in the NFL isn't going to help him get it, it's only going to enable him even more. The Cowboys have already publicly discussed giving him a contract extension, because he has performed well on the field. Earlier this week Joseph Randle, who also has issues of his own that need to be resolved but hasn't performed on the field, was released by the team. They didn't even bother to have him come in even though he lives close to the facility, they fired him over the phone.
Greg Hardy's transgressions are now in the public eye. The NFL already gave Hardy a lengthy suspension, and Hardy won appeal on it on the grounds that the conviction and original suspension were before the NFL amended its domestic violence. The league's appeal process needs to be reviewed, as highlighted by Tom Brady's suspension being upheld by the NFL until federal court overturned it, but that process will take too long. The league has no legal ground to suspend him again for this, especially considering they originally had access to those photos, which is why his original suspension was so long.
Greg Hardy is an embarrassment to the league, and should be an embarrassment to the Cowboys. With the evidence we have now, we can confidently say that Hardy's four game suspension wasn't enough. With the league's hands tied, the only people who can take appropriate action are Jerry and Stephen Jones. Do the right thing.