Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy has a reputation as a bit of hot head. That's what happens when you're arrested for choking your girlfriend and throwing her onto a couch covered in assault rifles. So it comes as no surprise that he had a wild sideline blowup during Sunday's Cowboys vs. Giants game.
The fracas began when the Cowboys gave up a 100-yard kick-off return for a touchdown, allowing the Giants to take a 27-20 lead. As the special teams unit prepared to return the ensuing kick, Hardy bulldozed his way into the huddle and went after coach Rich Bisaccia. An innocent clipboard was sacrificed, jerseys were tugged, and vending machine-sized men were shoved. After Hardy was forced back onto the sideline, he and injured receiver Dez Bryant exchanged words — and something else:
It may not look like a vicious attack, but it's noteworthy for a few reasons. First, there's Hardy reputation as an ill-tempered dirtbag. Obviously he hasn't changed. Second, there's the manner in which he addressed his grievance. He didn't yell at the special teams coach or implore his teammates to play better, he slapped the guy's clipboard and got chest to chest with him like he wanted to throw down. That's easy to do when you're wearing body armor. This guy's really tough when he's facing down his girlfriend or a 55-year-old in khakis.
To be fair, it seems only those outside of the gladiatorial world of the NFL think Hardy's behavior was a problem. His coach said, "That happens, you encourage guys, you try to get guys excited. You try to get guys ready for the next challenge. I believe from my vantage point, that's what he was doing.'' Little surprise there: Football has created such a bizarre culture that physical intimidation is seen as a sign of encouragement. And from the looks of it, that doesn't set a great example for young players at all.
For his part, Hardy didn't have much to say about the incident. We're probably better off that way.
Photos by Mike Stone / Getty Images