How would you define leadership? It is a fascinating question in life. Some lead by example, like Derek Jeter. Some are master motivators, like Bill Parcells. Some give you a little fire and brimstone, which you see less of in 2015.
What we saw from Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy last Sunday at MetLife Stadium was not leadership. That was a player that is out of control. Hardy had a physical confrontation with special teams coach Rich Bisaccia and screamed at teammates following the 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by the Giants' Dwayne Harris. That is not leadership. Especially what we know of Hardy as a person. His original team, the Carolina Panthers, had enough and did not pursue him in free agency. He is a 27-year-old edge rusher that has 37 career sacks and has shown to be a game-wrecker. So why not pursue him?
Simple, the juice was not worth the squeeze. Dating back to May of 2014, Hardy was arrested and accused of throwing his girlfriend, Nicole Holder, to the floor and into a bathtub, slamming her against a Futon and strangling her during an argument. He also threatened to kill Holder as well. Hardy was convicted but appealed the case and the domestic violence charge was eventually dropped because Holder could not be located to testify against him.
Carolina had enough. He signed an incentive laden one-year contract with the Cowboys because of his ability to get to the quarterback. The NFL suspended him 10 games and that suspension was reduced to four games after appeal. So here we are. Hardy is acting out. Character of the player gets called into question and we have the delusional owner of the Cowboys, Jerry Jones, defending Hardy.
“He’s of course, one of the real leader on this team and he earns it and he earns it with respect from all of his teammates and theat’s the kind of thing that inspires a football team,” Jones said.
He seriously said that. A billionaire owner in the NFL where they want to continue to sell you that "character counts" has that response last week after Hardy acted out the way he did on the Cowboys sideline. Greg Hardy is lucky to be in the NFL. He certainly has the talent to play the game and to be one of the stars of the league. However, he also has shown an inability to stay out of trouble since joining the league.
Jerry Jones is an enabler. Hardy will not change his behavior because he just got a pat on the back and that is scary. Heck, reports out of Dallas are that the Cowboys want to sign Hardy to a contract extension. This comes after an NFL.com report that Hardy missed the Thursday practice before the Giants game and did not inform Dallas and they had no idea where he was. Good times in Big D. Former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum used to say, “talent sets the floor and character sets the ceiling.” All well and good, but then he went out and acquired a WR like Santonio Holmes from the Steelers. Actions speak louder than words and in the NFL, talent reigns supreme. Win above and beyond everything else. The Hardy saga in Dallas is just the latest and greatest example.