The 5 Most Disturbing Moments From the NFL’s Secret Greg Hardy Hearing

This story just keeps getting worse

Last March, the NFL held a closed door meeting with current Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy to determine when he would be allowed to play football again. At the time, he was on the Commissioner’s Exempt List following a July 2014 conviction for domestic violence after choking his ex-girlfriend and throwing her onto a futon covered in assault rifles.

The meeting resulted in Hardy’s reinstatement after serving a suspension of 10 games, which was later reduced to four. What exactly was said at that meeting — that is, what verbal gymnastics convinced the NFL to ignore the damning evidence that led to Hardy’s conviction in the first place — was a mystery  until Wednesday, when Deadspin released the 126-age transcript as a part of the ongoing journalistic ass-kicking the sports website’s been delivering to Hardy, the Cowboys and the NFL.

The transcript is full of the kind of rank bullshit that is often shoveled around during domestic violence cases, including a particularly galling circus trick where Hardy’s lawyers try to paint Hardy as the victim, despite graphic photos proving otherwise. Here are five things that most disturbed us. 

1. Greg Hardy was the *real* victim here. Hardy’s lawyer argued that when Nicole Holder, the woman who Hardy beat up, ran from police upon their arrival at Hardy’s home, she was displaying “consciousness of guilt.” He claimed she had previously been “punching, kicking, scratching, [and] hitting” Hardy. Unfortunately for them, his conviction in a court of law totally conflicts with this story, as does the preponderance of evidence documenting Holder’s injuries.

2. An excuse straight out of a Lifetime movie. At the hearing Hardy’s lawyer said Holder sustained the bruising all over her body after “falling” into bath tub. His support for this theory includes his own investigation that involved walking through the same bathroom and clipping his heel on a scale. There you have it, he argued, proof that someone could fall into a bath tub and emerge looking like they’re been splattered in bruise-colored paint. This is right up there with “she fell down some stairs” and “she walked into a door.”

3. The slut-shaming. Hardy’s lawyer claimed at the hearing that Holder was infatuated with the defensive end and wanted to constantly blow him. This, he suggests, impugns her creditability. It shows that she’s somehow unstable, obsessed and given, apparently, toward abusing Hardy and then claiming to be the victim herself.

4. The lack of incredulity. The worst part of the fantasy version of events presented by Hardy’s lawyer is that it was almost completely absorbed by the four NFL officials present at the hearing, none of whom went out of their way to probe Hardy’s story with, say, court records or other legal evidence. This is particularly hard to believe when you consider how much Hardy’s version of events differed from the one presented in court. You know, the version of events that led to his conviction.

5. Blatant disregard for the truth. This isn’t a reference to the events that happened between Hardy and Holder, but to something more easily proven. At one point in the conversation between lawyers, Hardy’s representative from the NFL Player’s Association acts like she’s unaware of the civil settlement between Hardy and Holder. A civil settlement that had been reported in the media and acknowledged by the DA. In this hearing, facts simply don’t matter. It’s a weird moment that encapsulates the strategy of Hardy’s team: Say anything to get the man back on the field. 

Photos by Jamie Squire / Getty Images