Sunday night, Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy wasn’t interested in talking to reporters following his team’s overtime loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He reportedly exited the team’s locker room and immediately sped off in his Ferrari.
Last week, Deadspin exclusively revealed photos of Hardy’s former girlfriend Nicole Holder. The photos show Holder’s body covered in a horrific series of bruises, welts, cuts and other injuries suffered as a result of a domestic violence incident involving Hardy in 2014.
The domestic violence charges against Hardy were eventually dismissed. The public outrage towards Hardy has not.
Earlier this season, Greg Hardy made his Cowboys debut after serving a reduced four-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Although he’s only played in 4 of the Cowboys 8 games this season, he leads the team in sacks, interceptions and forced fumbles.
But his vague response after the Deadspin report was published tells you all you need to know about whether or not Hardy gets it:
Just had to say I express my regret 4 what happened in past and I'm Dedicated to being the best person & teammate that I can be
— Greg Hardy (@GregHardyJr) November 8, 2015
Last May, the 6’5, 280 pound Hardy got into an argument with Holder that resulted in him hitting her repeatedly, dragging her around his apartment by her hair, slamming her head off the bathroom floor, picking her up to slam her on a futon full of automatic weapons and then almost choking her to death while claiming he should kill her.
He was convicted of assaulting Holder and threatening to kill her. He was convicted. His charges were dismissed during the appeals process, when Holder did not show up to court.
It should sicken the human conscience to envision a man brutalizing a woman the way Hardy did that day.
And no, it shouldn’t require photos like Deadspin published to bring that feeling to light.
While many people feel comfortable believing that it’s simply human-nature to be more sensitive to images than words, the idea that words aren’t enough to evoke ultimate disgust is scary as hell, because it indicates that our society is becoming numb to abuse and damage that is not caught on a Snapchat, Vine or Instagram video.
As many media outlets have rightfully pointed out, we shouldn’t need photos to be thoroughly outraged about Hardy’s domestic violence. The best example of that reality is the ongoing Daniel Holtzclaw trial, the cop who allegedly raped over a dozen women, most of whom are black.
When reading through what Holtzclaw has been charged with, from forcing women to perform oral sex on him at gunpoint, to raping women with flashlights — even raping a young girl on her mother’s porch — there should be no room for disgust left to be filled by pictures and videos.
You should be thoroughly sickened enough, just by reading it, to not even want to see the pictures even if they did exist.
It’s interesting that, of all people, Ray Rice seems to be the only person who truly understands that. In regards to the photos being shown online, Rice said:
It really shouldn’t take photos, you know, or anything to understand the severity of domestic violence that happens every 8 seconds as we speak. It does continue to raise awareness. It’s just a tough deal that it takes the visual, the photos, for the severity of it to be known. My deepest condolences go out to the survivors of domestic violence.
In other words, don’t act all brand-new now that the photos are out.
The truth is, many of us are guilty of cognitive dissonance. While we love our musicians, our actors and our athletes, we regularly find ourselves cheering on and supporting murderers, rapists, domestic abusers, and drunk drivers, and trying to balance our distaste with their real lives and our affinity for their art/athleticism.
The reason Hardy received backlash for acting up on the Cowboys sideline is because we hate him for reminding us who we’re actually cheering for. We hate that he disallowed us from staying willfully ignorant.
There will be another Greg Hardy. There will also be another Nicole Holder. And when that eventually occurs, we owe it to the victim to not need extensive visual confirmation to be jarred awake at the brutality they suffered.