IRVING, Texas -- Growing up, Jason Witten's life was touched by domestic violence, and the Dallas Cowboys tight end has made it the highest priority to help families that have been affected by it with his SCORE Foundation.
When the Cowboys signed free-agent defensive end Greg Hardy, who missed all but one game last season because of a domestic violence issue and has subsequently been suspended 10 games this season by the league for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, many wondered about Witten’s thoughts.
“I think more than anything I think everybody knows (I’m against) domestic violence,” Witten said. “That’s unwavering. That’s something that I lived, my family lived. But that guy is a teammate of mine, so I think you have to look at it from that standpoint. As coach (Jason) Garrett says, it’s our job to invite those guys in and create a standard of how we do things. I think he’s done a great job since he’s been here. It’s not my job to decide who comes in. I’m a tight end. But I’ve been really pleased how he’s approached it and how he goes to work and what kind of teammate he’s been. The day he got suspended, the next day he’s in there working out, so I think that’s kind of the mentality he has, what kind of work ethic (he has) and what he’s trying to prove in Dallas.”
Hardy is appealing the league’s suspension. He was initially found guilty of a domestic violence charge by a North Carolina judge, but the charges were dismissed when the accuser did not make herself available for a jury trial. Hardy has since asked for his record to be expunged and has relinquished all of the weapons from the case to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s office.
Cowboys front-office personnel, coaches and teammates have commended Hardy for his offseason work, and Witten is no different.
“I think when you add the guy like that and then he gets suspended and you never know how it’s going to come out,” Witten said. “The guy works his tail off. Our job is to welcome him and show him the way we do things and embrace him as a teammate, and he’s done everything that you want. He’s a hard worker. Obviously he’s a talented player. I think he’s learned a lot from what he’s gone through in the last year. He’s had a good offseason.”