Early Monday morning the State prosecutors of North Carolina made a motion to dismiss all domestic violence charges against Greg Hardy for lack cooperation from the victim Nicole Holder. According to the Charlotte Observer, multiple efforts have been made to get in contact with Hardy’s ex-girlfriend. Moreover, Holder has not been returning phone calls and has not been found at her last known address. This development is not too surprising considering the fact that ever since the beginning of this whole fiasco last year, Holder has consistently been uncooperative throughout the litigation process. It is also believed that Holder & Hardy have agreed to an independent settlement agreement, although that has not been confirmed. This is the final chapter of what has been an unfortunate series of events for Greg Hardy & the Carolina Panthers organization. Furthermore, this is most likely going to cause the team & player to part ways. Although nothing has been made official, there have been numerous reports made by various media outlets stating that the Carolina Panthers were prepared to move on from the former Pro-bowl defensive lineman; regardless of the outcome of his case.
What makes this situation even more unfortunate is the fact that all this would have been avoided had the Panthers not cave in to public pressure & allowed the league to determine whether or not Hardy deserved to be punished for a crime that he was “Accused” of committing. Greg Hardy’s situation is a clear example of how public perception can cause organizations to turn their backs on their own employees just to save face. The majority of celebrities in the entertainment industry work independently, so although they may be judged by the general public, those opinions don’t prevent those artists from being able to work. Athletes on the other hand don’t have that luxury; particularly NFL players. Athletes are paid on contract by their teams and with the NFL contracts NOT guaranteed; ultimately this makes NFL players very vulnerable to being cast aside by their teams whenever adversity hits. This is exactly what happened to Ray Rice, he was tried in the court of law for his crimes, and then received additional discipline by his employers. But when TMZ exposes the elevator video of Rice striking his wife, pandemonium ensues which ultimately leads to his organization releasing him completely with no financial repercussions. Now in the grand scheme of things, Hardy was not actually punished by the Panthers organization because he was paid the full amount of his 1 year franchise tag despite only playing one game and being put on the “Commissioner’s Exempt-list”. Obviously the Carolina Panthers were probably not excited about paying one of their best players to essentially “Stay away” but ultimately that was their decision to make because had they did to Hardy what the Ravens did to Ray Rice. The Panthers would have been looking at a major lawsuit on their hands with Hardy now being clear of all charges. In hindsight the Panthers should have stood behind their player instead of making a personnel decision on an employee based off of an accused crime that was essentially predicated off of a “He says, She say” premise. Yes the Panthers would have received bad press, but ultimately the world would have soon forgotten about the issue (Just as people have done with athletes like Kobe Bryant & Ben Roethlisberger when they were accused of Rape) and moved on to the next “Popular Story” which at this moment would probably be between Marshawn Lynch’s media behavior & Pete Carroll’s decision to pass the ball for one yard in a Super Bowl. Either way this story should serve as reminder of the importance of due process & why it’s important to let an independent party (I.E. Law Enforcement & Prosecutors) handle criminal cases with citizens instead of their employers making rash decisions.