Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of Greg Hardy’s pre-disciplinary NFL hearing is the open forum he was given to obfuscate the details of his domestic violence incident and besmirch his accuser Nicole Holder’s character. The NFL’s lawyers offered Hardy minimal pushback throughout the ordeal and at one point allowed his attorney, Frank Maister, to speak uninterrupted for 13 pages of transcript. It was quite a different tone from Tom Brady’s combative appeal hearing, which featured several contentious exchanges. In Roger Goodell’s NFL, alleged ball deflation appears to be investigated with more ferocity than alleged domestic assault.
Let’s start with the fact that Goodell demanded to preside over Brady’s arbitration, but yet wasn’t even present for Hardy’s hearing. For two years, the commissioner has spoken continuously about how serious the league is about combating domestic violence, but apparently he prefers to delegate those efforts.
One of the people who Goodell hired in the wake of the Ray Rice incident to help the NFL better address domestic abuse was Lisa Friel, a former prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorney’s office who lead sexual assault investigations for nearly three decades. But Friel was largely silent during Hardy’s hearing, as she failed to challenge his assertion that Holder was attacking him that night in May 2014, and not the other way around.
Though Holder told police Hardy “threw her into the bathroom” before she hit the back of a shower wall and fell into the bathtub, Maister says on pages 43 and 44 Holder actually slipped on a scale and landed into the bathtub on her own. As Deadspin points out, the only resistance the NFL’s lawyers offered this narrative was one follow-up from general counsel Jeff Pash.
hat’s a significant contrast from attorney Lorin Reisner’s questioning of Brady during his appeal hearing over his four-game Deflategate suspension. Here’s a sampling of an exchange between Reisner and Brady over his destroyed cell phone, which contained text messages Brady had sent from Nov. 6, 2014 through March 5, 2015.Type your paragraph here.