After a bizarre case of “he said, she said,” it appears no one wants to take responsibility for black-balling Greg Hardy from the Canadian Football League.
The free agent is one year removed from his 12 game campaign with the Dallas Cowboys who gave him a chance after he was charged and found guilty of assaulting a former girlfriend. The victim alleged that the six-foot-five, 280 pound lineman tossed her in a bathtub, dragged her to the bedroom, choked her and threw her onto a couch covered with firearms before threatening to kill her.
The former Pro-Bowler visited the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, but left unsigned after a two-day workout and interview session.
Chris Jones, the coach and general manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, addressed reporters to confirm that the much maligned Hardy had contacted the team with interest during training camp, but the league had ruled against his eligibility.
“He was interested in coming up. I inquired with the league,” Jones said. “The league made their ruling, and you can talk to (CFL commissioner) Jeffrey Orridge and those guys if you need to have more info on it.”
The CFL has banned players in the past who were not eligible for the NFL. For instance, Ray Rice was unable to play in Canada following his elevator altercation, but Hardy is simply a free agent who was playing (at a rather competitive level) only eight months ago.
But a CFL spokesman told the CBC that they had nothing to do with the alleged ruling.
“The decision whether to pursue a player rests with the organization. And in this case, while the league did discuss the matter with the Riders, it was ultimately the organization’s decision to not place Hardy on the Riders’ negotiation list in May.”
If Saskatchewan did in fact pursue Hardy, and were unable to attract him to Canada for whatever reason, why would they blame the league?
Are the Roughriders communicating to their rabid fan base that they are trying to acquire new talent at any cost despite moral implications? If the league wants to give them credit for deciding against allowing Hardy into the league they should be thankful, not blaming league inaction.
Someone took a very hard look at a supreme talent, and made the difficult choice that the public relation backlash would be harsh and warranted. Regardless what truly happened, both sides should jump at an opportunity to frame this as a hard stance against domestic violence among professional football players.
Instead, Jones left us with this eye-opening statement: “Quite honestly, you wouldn’t have a league if all the guys who had some type of past transgression in high school or junior college or college [weren’t allowed to play],” he said. “You wouldn’t have a CFL.”
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