Why the anger and upset? Because Hardy's girlfriend last year accused him of assault and threatening communication. Arrested in May, Hardy was subsequently convicted July 15. However, he appealed and requested a jury trial. At the time, Hardy was playing for the Carolina Panthers, which announced in September that the player had been removed from the active-roster until the case was settled.
But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday that Hardy shouldn't be dragged through the mud any longer, as he's already sacrificed so much money as a result of the case. Yep, really.
Here's what Jones had to say when talking to NBC's Pro Football Talk Live on Wednesday:
He’s paid a terrific price. [...] Had he not had this incident his contract would be one like Ndamukong Suh, possibly, but he doesn’t have that. So he’s got more to come because the league is going to rule on if he has suspensions this year. All of that is all incorporated in that agreement and the bottom line is we hope and feel that he won’t do that, go down this road again.
There's a chance Hardy could be suspended by the NFL: “No, that’s a part of the risk that we took to sign him and deal with whatever comes,” Jones said when asked about Hardy's eligibility to play.
Charges were dismissed in February after Hardy's accuser did not testify, instead choosing to reach a civil suit agreement with the player, the Associated Press reported. The Cowboys then picked the player up on a one-year $11.3 million contract.
Controversy on not, it's doubtful Hardy, a 2013 Pro Bowler, would've seen the same cash as Suh, who became the highest-paid defense player in NFL history earlier this month when he signed with the Miami Dolphins to a six-year, $114 million contract.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also addressed Hardy's situation during a press conference Wednesday following the NFL's annual meetings.
According to USA Today, Goodell noted that the NFL's investigation is ongoing and that Hardy still faces potential punishment:
Any club was free to sign Greg Hardy. They understood that we were reviewing his case for potential discipline. That continues. We are trying to get as many facts as we possibly can to make the most informed decision we can, so that we can uphold the standards that we put forth in our personal-conduct policy. I expect that will conclude sometime in the near future and we'll make a decision shortly after.
Goodell said he expected a decision on Hardy will come in the "near future."