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NFL Faces New Wave Of Scrutiny Over Greg Hardy Domestic Violence Case


The NFL is facing a new round of scrutiny over a player accused last season of domestic violence, Greg Hardy of the Dallas Cowboys. He was suspended for four games and is on the field again. A judge in a bench trial last year found Hardy guilty of assaulting his then-girlfriend. But Hardy appealed the case, and all charges were dropped when the alleged victim was a no-show for that second trial. Now, the sports site Deadspin has gotten a hold of photos and documents from the criminal investigation and one of the NFL's hearings on the case. Diana Moskovitz is a writer at Deadspin. She's here to tell us more. Welcome to the program.

DIANA MOSKOVITZ: Thank you for having me.

CORNISH: So this all stems from an incident in July 2014 between Hardy and the woman he was dating at the time. She's been identified as Nicole Holder. And you've got some transcripts from what you guys describe as a reinstatement hearing. The NFL calls it a pre-disciplinary meeting. What does it show? What's in these documents?

MOSKOVITZ: Well, they show us this one point in the NFL's process of deciding how they will punish Greg Hardy for violating the personal conduct policy. But the NFL gives very little pushback in this hearing. At one point, his attorney tells a story that Nicole Holder tripped on a scale, and it was in tripping on a scale that she fell backwards into a bathtub and hit her back against the bathtub wall. This important because Nicole Holder said Greg Hardy threw her against the bathtub wall. And the NFL hears this scale story, and they ask, essentially, are you sure about the scale? Greg Hardy and his lawyer say yes, and they just move on.

CORNISH: You're essentially criticizing the NFL for not cross-examining Hardy, right, in his version of events. And when we reached out to the NFL, they said, look, that wasn't the intention of this particular meeting, that there was another interview process that came later that was a much tougher investigation. What's your response to that? I mean, did Deadspin take these documents out of context?

MOSKOVITZ: No. No, I don't think we did because, first, you need to remember that this is after he's had a trial where there has been testimony in open court, that this was still after several police reports, you know, were made public. The already knew Nicole Holder's side of this story, yet they did not seem to think that that was worth bringing up at this hearing for whatever reason. You know, it's easy for them to say that they brought this up in their other hearing, their other hearing which was private and which we don't have a transcript of, and how convenient. We kind of have to take their word for it.

CORNISH: Remind us of the NFL personal conduct policy in the aftermath of Ray Rice, who, during that scandal, it came out - a surveillance video showing him punching his now-wife. Do these documents on the Greg Hardy case reflect any of, like, the changes or the new voices that were supposed to be involved in changing this process?

MOSKOVITZ: From my reading of it, no. No, they don't. The NFL has brought on three advisors after what happened with Ray Rice, then they brought on two more. Now, they have five. Only one of them was in the room in the case that we have a transcript of. That was Lisa Friel. She's a former sex crimes prosecutor in Manhattan. And at one point, they all let the attorney talk for the equivalent of 13 pages, just going on and on and on with his version of events. And, you know, very little pushback about what happened that you could've even gleaned before my report with just catching up on articles in the Charlotte Observer.

CORNISH: One more thing - in a previous document reveal, Deadspin had the police photos of the alleged victim, Nicole Holder. And considering the lengths that she's gone to stay out of the public eye, why did you feel it was necessary or fair to her to reveal those in pursuing this story?

MOSKOVITZ: Yeah, you know, that was a really tough decision to make on our part. And we did it because, you know, unfortunately, again, calling back to Ray Rice, you know, that case showed the difference between how people felt about what happened before the video and after the video. And this is the strongest, most definitive proof that it happened.

CORNISH: That's Diana Moskovitz at Deadspin. Thank you so much for speaking with us.

MOSKOVITZ: Thank you for having me.

CORNISH: We also reached out to the Dallas Cowboys for comment on this story and got the same statement released from team owner Jerry Jones several days ago. It reads, in part, (reading) we do not condone domestic violence. We entered into the agreement with Greg fully understanding that there would be scrutiny and criticism. We have given Greg a second chance. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.