SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Two things were missing Sunday in Greg Hardy's first public statements since being arrested and subsequently found guilty of assaulting and threatening his ex-girlfriend.
The Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end did talk about selling hats and toboggans as part of his brand of personal merchandise, which in itself seemed wrong.
He did say at the very end he hates that his legal situation has been a distraction to the team, which really didn't come off as an apology.
But that was it.
I understand he can't talk about his case that is under appeal, and that won't be heard until after the season. I understand he can't discuss whether or not he threw Nicole Holder onto a futon covered in guns, as she claimed, or whether he threatened to kill her, as she also claimed.
I understand he can't say Holder -- and not him -- was the aggressor, as his lawyer claimed in court.
But at the very least he might have opened with something like: "I apologize that my situation has been a distraction to the team."
He is involved in a situation. He wouldn't have been admitting to anything that would impact his appeal, it would have sounded like an apology and he would have come off as remorseful.
Then he could have talked about football and his "Kraken" brand without it sounding so awkward.
I'm sure Hardy was under strict orders by his attorney. But not to comment on what the last few months has been like or how being back on the football field helped seemed beyond the gag order rule.
It left you with a bad taste, particularly when he thanked the media for promoting him and his brand.
He also suggested the media could put in a good word for him with general manager Dave Gettleman regarding a long-team deal after this season, which seems unlikely if he loses his appeal
"You guys do a really good job of putting me out there," when asked if he's getting the respect nationally for being one of the league's elite pass-rushers after leading the team with 15 sacks last season. "I appreciate that. I feel like I'm doing awesome. I always got good quotes. No spoon. Appreciate that, guys."
Hardy was referring to last season, when he said after a 21-20 victory against Atlanta in the season finale he ate his cereal without a spoon in reference to his dominance.
Hardy was entertaining and endearing that day. It called for it. He had four of the team's nine sacks.
Sunday didn't require entertaining. It required a tone that fell in line with that of Gettleman, who sternly said Hardy's situation is "concerning and disappointing."
At least from the outset.
It was an awkward situation to say the least. You expected that. Hardy has been mum since his April 13 arrest.
The good news is Hardy talked. He should have talked before training camp so the questions on this day could be about football and the team's first day in pads.
To blend football and questions about domestic violence was extremely awkward.