- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Greg Hardy wants a job, but not just any job. He wants to work in the NFL as a defensive lineman on one of its 32 teams. There are roughly 200 such positions.

After his disastrous interview on ESPN this week, he might have a chance if there were roughly 2,000.

Better yet for him, the ESPN appearance would’ve been unnecessary and he’d already be signed if he had 20 sacks last season.

Hardy did himself no favors in agreeing to a sitdown with Adam Schefter, who might be the only person who came away with a favorable impression of the woman-beater.

“I went in with the idea that this guy is a monster,” Schefter said Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show. “I came out of there with a very different feeling. I came out of there feeling like this is a guy who managed to say the wrong things at the wrong time.

“I found him to be a changed kind of guy,” Schefter said. “A guy that realized he did make some mistakes, could have handled things differently. In regard to that incident, it’s such a tough thing. … I’ll say this, he wasn’t wavering. He was adamant.”

Hardy isn’t an unemployed outcast because of misguided and ill-timed comments. He’s a pariah because we believe Nicole Holder’s harrowing tale of abuse and terror. We’ve seen dozens of police photographs showing bruises all over her body. We’ve read police reports, interviews and more.

Adamant denials and unwavering repudiations don’t change those facts. I don’t know what Schefter saw other than a compulsive liar or delusional idiot.

“I’ve never put my hand on any women … in my whole entire life, no sir,” Hardy said. “That’s just not how we’re raised. As you can tell, like I said again, it’s the Bible belt. It’s just something that’s, I wouldn’t even say ‘frowned upon,’ just something that’s nonexistent in most southern homes.”

That’s a crock in and of itself. The same sins that plague us in every other part of the country are alive and well in southern states such as Tennessee, where Hardy grew up, and Mississippi, where he attended college. According to a 2013 report by the Violence Policy Center, South Carolina, which ranked No. 1; Louisiana, which was fourth; and Tennessee, sixth, were high on the list of states where women are most likely to be murdered by men.

“I’m an innocent man,” Hardy said. “I’ve been proven not guilty and [the criminal case] is a situation in my past. As a grown man, as a football player of my caliber, there are situations … I could have done better. I should have done better.”

He should have started with preparing for the interview. Hardy was incoherent in trying to explain what happened without getting into the details. There wasn’t a hint of remorse or contrition as he rambled on, and he came up short on honesty, failing to admit any role in Holder’s physical condition. What about all of that damaging physical evidence?

“Like I said, that’s a conversation for lawyers,” Hardy said. “Pictures are pictures and they can be made to look like whatever they want to.”

He has a point there. The axiom “seeing is believing” has been rendered obsolete by modern technology, but the photos in question were taken by the Charlotte police. While I’m well aware that cops have been known to doctor evidence, I don’t believe an officer used Photoshop to put those bruises on Holder.

As for claiming he’s “an innocent man” who was “proven not guilty,” he can eliminate law as an alternative career option. The judge who convicted Hardy ruled “the court is entirely convinced Hardy is guilty of assault on a female and communicating threats.” The only reason Hardy won on appeal is that Holder disappeared, as she was reportedly paid off. There’s little doubt that a jury would’ve agreed with the original ruling after hearing Holder’s account of the assault, as originally reported by WSOC-TV.

Greg Hardy attacked me in his apartment … picked me and threw me into the tile tub. I have bruises from head to toe. … [He] pulled me from the tub by my hair, screaming at me that he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats that I completely believe. He dragged me … choked me with both hands … picked me up over his head and threw me onto a couch covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns.”

Despite all the graphic photos and chilling accounts, Hardy got a job from Jerry Jones last year. But the disruptive stint with Dallas, combined with the lack of J.J. Watt-like impact and this week’s dreadful interview, make Hardy untouchable at the moment.

Just don’t be surprised if he resurfaces later. Out of 32 teams, there’s usually one that’s desperate enough to gain an edge and accept the fallout.

Sad but true: It would be a done deal already if Hardy was more productive and less problematic.

As things stand, he just better be thankful there’s no video.

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