By now most fans of the Dallas Cowboys have heard the news that defensive end Greg Hardy's 10-game suspension was reduced down to four games. We'll take a look at that from four perspectives.
The Fan's Take
If you're a Cowboys fan, the news couldn't be much better. Hardy is really the centerpiece of what the Cowboys hope will be a vastly improved pass rush. He is simply one of the best pass rushers in the league. Dallas will only have to do without Hardy's services for the first four games of the season (at most). He will be able to practice through training camp and preseason, and will start serving his suspension on September 5th.
Most observers had six games as the magic number for a reduced suspension, but now it's four. If the Cowboys can stay afloat through the first quarter of the season, they will get a huge boost from Hardy, and their defense surely will improve. Just in time for the World Champions, the Patriots.
The Organization's Take
So far, we haven't heard much. Jerry Jones sent out a statement by email saying: "We are looking forward to the start of the season and having Greg be a part of the team."
Amazingly short from an owner who is known for his verbosity. Maybe he was very satisfied and didn't want to poke Roger Goodell in the eye with some misconstrued remark. I'm sure we'll hear more from the Cowboys brass later. Back in May, Jerry said:
"This suspension is something that we anticipated prior to Greg's signing, and we respect the Commissioner's ruling. Our organization understands the very serious nature of this matter. We will use our resources — work closely with Greg and with the league — to ensure a positive outcome."
The League's Take
The NFL took seven weeks to make this decision. Now we know why, it wasn't the rubber stamp from Harold Henderson that we anticipated. Roger Goodell was certainly trying to score P.R. points with his 10-game suspension, and when he named Henderson as the arbitrator in the appeal, most people assumed he would uphold the decision like he did in the Adrian Peterson case. Any relief would probably have to come from Hardy and the NFLPA suing the league.
"After consideration of all the record evidence and arguments, I conclude that the Commissioner acted within his authority and properly exercised his discretion in finding that Hardy violated the NFL Personal Conduct Policy," Henderson said in a statement. " . . . I find that the conduct of Hardy clearly violated the letter and spirit of any version of the PCP since its inception, and of the NFL Constitution and Bylaws long before then. The egregious conduct exhibited here is indefensible in the NFL.
"However, ten games is simply too much, in my view, of an increase over prior cases without notice such as was done last year, when the 'baseline' for discipline in domestic violence or sexual assault cases was announced as a six-game suspension."
I think the deep cut into the suspension came as a surprise to everyone.
Greg Hardy's Take
We haven't heard from him yet, but I imagine he has to be somewhat pleased with this development. It means more games, and more money, for him. And from everything we've heard about him in practices, the guy is intense and ready to play some ball.
What we don't know yet is if he will go ahead with the NFLPA and sue the league. Sources said anything more than a two-game suspension would lead him to sue, but we'll have to see. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, says they will discuss this with his lawyers and the NFLPA.