NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell drew a lot of harsh and well-deserved criticism over his handling of the Ray Rice situation last year, but when it comes to the ruling on Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, he thinks he did pretty well.
“Because of the process. Because we have the facts,” Goodell said, referring to the two-month investigation of Hardy’s case, per Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We had the right people involved who were able to pull all the facts together, give us the kind of information that was necessary for us to make a decision that would reflect the values and the integrity of the league but also the personal conduct policy.”
Hardy was suspended 10 games without pay, and while no one is going to shed any tears for the 2013 Pro Bowler given the circumstances of his case, some critics have opined that the punishment seems a bit on the arbitrary side. Some also believe 10 games is too many, considering Hardy already missed 15 games last year--making his a 25-game suspension for all intents and purposes--and some have wondered if the real issue here isn’t strictly about money. After all, Hardy was paid for the games he missed last year as he sat on the Commissioner’s Exempt List.
In any case, the NFL Players’ Association filed their appeal last week, and will ask for an independent arbitrator in the case. The NFL has yet to decide if they’ll grant this wish, and whether or not they will is anyone’s guess at this point. They OK’d the independent arbitrator in the aforementioned Rice case, but nixed the idea in Adrian Peterson’s case.