IRVING, Texas -- While his teammates will be concluding the first week of organized team activities at Valley Ranch, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy will be in Washington D.C., appealing his 10-game suspension.
Harold Henderson, a former NFL executive, was picked by the league to hear Hardy's suspension. He denied the appeal of running back Adrian Peterson, which was vacated later by Judge David Doty. Peterson has since been reinstated by the league but the NFL Players Association wants the NFL, the management council and Commissioner Roger Goodell held in contempt of court since Henderson has issued a new ruling on Peterson's case.
At the heart of Peterson's defense was the fact the NFLPA felt the NFL punished him under the league's new personal conduct policy despite actions that occurred before it was adopted.
That will be at the heart of Hardy's defense as well.
Hardy has had domestic violence charges dismissed after an ex-girlfriend refused to cooperate with the Mecklenburg County district attorney's office in a jury trial stemming from an incident in the spring of 2014.
After conducting an investigation of its own, the NFL suspended Hardy for 10 games because of at least four instances of physical contact with his former girlfriend, Nicole Hardy.
In an email, the NFLPA said the 10-game suspension was “totally unprecedented under the policy that was in effect at time of alleged conduct."
The NFLPA believes the league's mention of guns being involved in the incident is a sign the league applied the new personal conduct policy since guns are not mentioned in the league's old policy.
Hardy's defense will also use a three-hour interview with the alleged victim conducted after the incident that contradicted her testimony in the bench trial that ended with Hardy being found guilty initially. Hardy's lawyers were not given a copy of that interview until four days before the jury trial was scheduled to begin, and the case was dropped shortly thereafter.
Henderson took roughly a week to make a ruling in the Peterson case and could use a similar timeframe in the Hardy case. If the appeal is not overturned, then the NFLPA would almost assuredly take the case to court.
While Hardy awaits his future, the Cowboys will only be interested spectators.
“No real comment beyond just supporting him and this is part of the process that he's going to go through in appealing this suspension," coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday. “He and his representatives will handle it as well as they can and we'll see what happens. The biggest thing is to handle it the right way. We're going to try to handle it the right way as an organization and we expect him to handle it the right way as an individual player."