NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, November 9, 2015, 9:06 AM
The Cowboys huddled around Greg Hardy Sunday, hiding him from the media in his first game after photos of his bruised and beaten ex, Nicole Holder, were published.
Dallas didn’t make Hardy available to reporters after Sunday night’s overtime loss to the Eagles in Arlington, but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doubled-down on his second-chance rhetoric regarding the troubled pass-rusher.
“Greg has a commitment to us,” Jones said after his team lost its sixth straight, falling to 2-6. “He has a commitment to do the right thing. We expect him to do the right thing. He has a commitment to his teammates and our team. The way it’s set up in the NFL relative to behavior if in fact we wanted to give Greg the second chance and you lose that in the NFL if you don’t do the right things, so if he’ll do the right things, if he’ll take advantage of the opportunities that he’s got here with his second chance we’ll see how it goes.”
“Again, we want to give him a second chance,” Jones continued, “and we certainly know that in many areas he’s taking advantage of those assets that we have and to the end that he does the right thing for himself and others as well as the right thing by the NFL, then we’re giving him a second chance.”
While Jones spoke to reporters after the game, he declined to be interviewed by NBC before its Sunday night broadcast. The network said that it had also requested an interview with Hardy but was denied access.
“I’ll just say this one thing about the Greg Hardy situation,” coach Jason Garrett said after the game. “We as an organization don’t condone domestic violence. We take the issue very, very seriously. We knew that when we signed Greg Hardy that there would be some criticism that came with that.”
“We decided to give him a second chance. He’s worked hard for our football team up to this point,” Garrett added. “He knows what the expectations and standards are, and we’re going to hold him accountable to those.”
Hardy had a sack and two penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct call, a day after he tweeted “regret” in response to the release of pictures of his bruised ex-girlfriend from his domestic violence case.
Eagles lineman Lane Johnson, who lined up against Hardy on Sunday, said he “put a little extra mustard” on his blocks against Hardy, adding that Hardy “wasn’t all that emotional in the game. I don’t know if the stuff got him on the news, but he seemed out of it a little bit.”
While Hardy was on the field, another domestic abuser, Ray Rice, remained on the sidelines on Sunday. Rice, who hasn’t played in the NFL since September 2014 — after a video showing him punching his then-fiancée was published — passed on the opportunity to weigh in on Hardy, instead telling ESPN that he remains haunted by his actions.
“I totally understand what my visual did and the effect it had on society and the survivors of domestic violence,” Rice said. “So, for me, to never be forgiven … I understand those things, and I totally take full responsibility for my actions. The one thing I can say is … I have made a lifelong decision to raising awareness about this.
“I used to have a situation where kids were like, ‘I wanna be like Ray Rice.’ And now I have to think about kids and parents saying, ‘I don’t want you to be like Ray Rice.’ And that haunts me.”
— With News Wire Services