What Ray Rice did in that Atlantic City elevator — captured on video and then released to TMZ — was more than deplorable. Ray Rice is not and should not be on an NFL roster. Ray Rice is no longer playing football, and although I don’t agree with it, he likely won’t play on another NFL team again.
But as the world collectively plugs into Ray Rice’s actions, there’s another situation involving an NFL player and domestic violence that — all things considered — may be even worse than Rice’s case.
The NFL player flying under the radar is defensive end Greg Hardy. He plays for the Carolina Panthers.
On July 15, Hardy was found guilty of “assaulting his former girlfriend and threatening to kill her,” says an article written in the Charlotte Observer.
The article continues:
“Hardy, [former girlfriend Nicole] Holder said, flung her from the bed, threw her into a bathtub, then tossed her on a futon covered with rifles. Holder said Hardy ripped a necklace he had given her off her neck, threw it into a toilet and slammed the lid on her arm when she tried to fish it out.
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Hardy dragged her by the hair room to room, she said, before putting his hands around her throat.
“He looked me in my eyes and he told me he was going to kill me,” said Holder, 24, who said she used to live with Hardy.
“I was so scared I wanted to die. When he loosened his grip slightly, I said, ‘Just do it. Kill me.’ ””
That text is taken verbatim from a Charlotte Observer article published on July 16. And yes, that is real. And yes, Hardy was found guilty.
But here’s the really crazy part about Hardy’s story: the guy is going to be a starter for the Panthers’ Sunday home opener against the Lions. I wish I was making this up.
Alas, I am not.
Let me repeat: a person found guilty of “assaulting his former girlfriend and threatening to kill her” is playing in an NFL game on Sunday in front of 73,000 fans. Try to explain how that is possible. You can’t.
Well, then again, maybe you can. Here’s how:
I am not the only one that is speaking out about the hilarity of Greg Hardy playing a game on Sunday. But this story is being forgotten because of one, sole reason: video.
Ray Rice’s transgressions were captured on tape for the world to see.
Donald Sterling’s transgressions were captured on a recording for the world to hear.
Greg Hardy’s transgressions were captured by two people: Hardy and Holder.
In today’s day-and-age, hearing a spoken/written account of violence or controversy does not light as much of a fire as an instantly shareable Instagram picture, YouTube video clip, or a TMZ audio recording. (at this moment, I would like to give credit to author Jeff Pearlman, who gave me the idea for this article after he wrote this piece on his blog)
This is not an article advocating for Goodell to be fired/resign (I don’t think either is the answer). This is simply an article that intends to look at how unbalanced the attention can be for two players involved in the same situation, and how we as a population often overlook situations that don’t have the immediate ‘OMG, DID-YOU-SEE-THIS?!’ quality.
The fact of the matter is that Hardy’s actions are just as bad — if not worse — that Rice’s.
Rice, tagged with committing blatant domestic violence, was caught on video, sparked a viral outcry, and was also justifiably cut by the Ravens for his actions, likely to never play a snap in the NFL again. Let that sink in.
Hardy, meanwhile, was found guilty — GUILTY — with clear domestic violence, but his incident was not caught on video, did not spark a viral outcry, and instead of being cut by his team, he is starting their home opener. Let that sink in.
Yet only one player is in the limelight right now.
Let that sink in.