Eagles center Jason Kelce didn’t mince words:
“There are three people I have zero respect for in this world. It’s people who hit women, people who molest children, and rapists.”
He had Cowboys DE Greg Hardy firmly in the first group, and it sounds like the Eagles offensive line never once forgot it during Philadelphia’s 33-27 overtime win in Dallas.
Hardy was largely kept in check; he recorded just two tackles, one of them a sack, and racked up two penalties, including an inexplicable unsportsmanlike-conduct call after an extra point. He was mostly invisible on the night, except for when cameras caught him looking exhausted on the sideline.
Eagles tackle Lane Johnson, who blocked Hardy most of the night, wondered if Hardy wasn’t mentally out of the game because of the firestorm surrounding the publication of photos of his abuse victim.
“Anytime I got a chance to put a little extra mustard on a block, I tried,” Johnson said. “He wasn’t all that emotional in the game. I don’t know if the stuff got to him on the news, but he seemed out of it a little bit.
“I felt like I faced better than him. He’s a guy who, when things are going good, he’s great. When things aren’t going good, he’ll shut it down.”
“I’m glad he didn’t have a good day,” Kelce said of Hardy’s quiet game. “I think it’s a joke a guy like that is able to play this quickly.”
Hardy was paid to sit out 15 games on the exempt list last year, and had a 10-game suspension reduced to four game on appeal to start this season. Superficially, that’s more games than Ray Rice got: the former Ravens RB was handed a two-game ban, which was increased to indefinite after the release of video of him knocking his fiancée unconscious. But that suspension was overturned by an arbitrator—Rice was officially ineligible to play for 12 weeks. (It was Rice’s age and declining effectiveness, combined with his perceived toxicity, that made his suspension functionally a career-ender.)
Yesterday morning, Rice appeared on SportsCenter to talk about Hardy, and there’s probably no one better to understand the impact visual evidence can have on the public’s response to domestic abuse cases.
“It really shouldn’t take photos or anything to understand the severity of domestic violence,” Rice said. “It does continue to raise awareness. It’s just a tough deal that it takes a visual for the severity to be known.”
Rice, unlike Hardy, saw the release of visual proof of his assault before he had served his initial suspension—and before Roger Goodell’s power to hand down capricious and publicity-driven discipline was checked by a series of arbitration rulings. Hardy isn’t going to receive any punishment beyond what he’s already served. Unless you count what he gets from opposing O-lines.
Image via AP.