As much as the Cowboys want to downplay Greg Hardy’s little sideline meltdown toward the end of Dallas’s loss to the Giants—and cast his tantrum as the actions of “one of the real leaders on this team,” as Jerry Jones put it—it’s telling that he got a visit from Tony Romo right after the game. Romo approached Hardy at his locker, and the two spoke for a few minutes. It looked, according to observers, pleasant enough.

Hardy is a guy who’s played two games. Romo, on the other hand, is one of the unquestioned leaders of the Cowboys. It’s not a stretch, given what transpired when the media got their time with Hardy, that he had been coached by Romo on what to say about a scene that promised to be national headlines the next day:

Here’s the transcript, via NJ.com, if only because it looks funnier in print.

Q. “Could you describe your feelings right now?”

A. “No comment. Next question.”

Q. “How do you think the de—-”

A. “No comment. Next question.”

Q. “Is there —-”

A. “No comment. Next question. Any other questions?”

Q. “It looks like you got into the special teams—-”

A. “No comment. Next question.”

Q. “Can you say anything about—-”

A. “No comment. Next question. Any other questions?”

Q. “The Giants—-”

A. “No comment. Any other questions?”

(Awkward two-second pause)

A. “Thank you guys for coming. I appreciate you all very much.”

No one really disputes what happened, since it was caught on camera; only the meaning of it. After the Cowboys’ fourth-quarter, game-tying touchdown was immediately answered by Dwayne Harris’s 100-yard kickoff return, Hardy invaded the special teams huddle. The video shows him slapping at special teams coach Rich Bisaccia’s clipboard, and Bisaccia shoving Hardy before teammates got in between the two of them.

Safety Danny McCray was one of the players Hardy pushed, and his description of events was meant to make it sound like no big deal. He didn’t really succeed at downplaying it, because he basically recalled thinking that these weren’t the actions of a rational person—until realizing the rogue player was Greg Hardy, at which point it all made sense.

“It was surprising he was in there. I know when he came, he kind of pushed me a little bit. I just didn’t realize who he was. I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, who is this?’ Once you realize it’s Greg, you’re like, ‘We need to make a play.’

All the players asked, as well as head coach Jason Garrett, said Hardy was merely trying to fire up the team. That’s probably true—football is full of the type to conflate intimidation with motivation. But Hardy’s a special, extreme case, whose criminal history points to real and serious anger problems. It doesn’t help anyone for the Cowboys to enable and encourage him to rage out.

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Not that they’re about to do otherwise. Dez Bryant has another week or two before his return, and Tony Romo isn’t eligible to play until Week 11. The Cowboys offense has sputtered with Brandon Weeden and then Matt Cassel at the helm, and the loss last night dropped them into last place in the NFC East. The defense has been no great shakes either, with Hardy’s three sacks in two games as a lone bright spot. The Cowboys really aren’t in any position to do anything but let Greg Hardy be himself, as terrible as he may be.