Friday, April 8, 2016

A Testament to Tone Deafness

I went in with the idea that this guy is a monster.
I came out of there with a very different feeling. 
I came out of there feeling that this is a guy who 
Has managed to say the wrong things at wrong time.
- Adam Schefter, ESPN


Whether irony or coincidence, on the same night that FX aired the season finale of its excellent ten-part series, The People v. O.J. Simpson, which told the story of last century's "Trial of the Century", which evolved of course out of an undeniably physically abusive relationship between a former NFL star player and his wife/ex-wife, ESPN aired Adam Schefter's "interview" (giving that term the broadest possible interpretation permitted under law) with former Carolina Panther and former Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy.  

For those who do not remember, in July 2014 Hardy was convicted in a bench trial in North Carolina of two misdemeanors:  assaulting his former girlfriend, Nicole Holder, and threatening to kill her.  Both charges against Hardy arose out of a May, 2014 incident.   Hardy exercised his right to appeal Judge Becky Thorne Tin's verdict, which appeal ensured him the right to a jury trial.  On the February 2015 morning on which Hardy's jury trial was set to begin, the State announced that it was dismissing the charges against him.  Its star witness, Ms. Holder, had apparently informed the State months earlier that she was no longer interested in cooperating in the case against Hardy.  Her disincentive apparently was financially-motivated.  At some point between July, 2014 and February, 2015, Hardy paid her. She went away and the State's case went with her.   Shortly before Thanksgiving last year, a Mecklenberg County, North Carolina judge expunged Hardy's conviction

Hardy told Schefter that irrespective of the photographs that the police took on the night of the incident that documented injuries to various parts of Nicole Holder's body, he never laid his hands on her.  In fact, Hardy told Schefter that never in his life has he ever laid his hands on any woman - including but not limited to Ms. Holder - because he was born and raised in the Bible Belt and such conduct simply does not go on there.  

Schefter apparently never outgrew his childhood affinity for Kool-Aid.  Not only did he sit there starry-eyed during his face-to-face chat with Hardy without ever once challenging any of the complete bullshit that came out of Hardy's mouth, but when he, himself, was interviewed after the piece aired, his comments plainly echo that same "well if he said it, it must be true" naivete.  Case in point, Schefter's quote that appears at the top of this piece is taken from the transcript of his April 6th interview with Dan Patrick, who once upon a lifetime ago was ESPN's #1 Sports Center Anchor.  

Kudos to Michelle Beadle of ESPN for taking her employer to task for providing Hardy a platform and for pointing out - contrary to Schefter's apparent embrace of Hardy's transformation - that Hardy has never admitted any wrongdoing - including under oath at his July, 2014 bench trial.  Schefter needs to consult a dictionary in order to familiarize himself with the words "reiteration" and "transformation".  Here's a helpful hint, Slick - they are not synonyms.

Kudos as well to Steve Smith, Sr., who has earned his living in the NFL as a wide receiver since 2001.  Prior to joining the Baltimore Ravens as a free agent after the 2013 season, Smith was Hardy's teammate in Carolina.  In response to Hardy's incredible claim that he never laid his hands on Ms. Holder, Smith tweeted this:

"So I guess she Tripped on carpet of something...
my mom is a Survivor #DV and I am advocate against #DV."  

Too bad that the paid, professional media type who ESPN paid to chat with Hardy did not think to ask Hardy that question.   

Smith's response to Hardy's claim - as well as the responses of other players, current and former - serves as a reminder that there are a significant number of men who earn a living doing what Greg Hardy presently does and what Orenthal James Simpson formerly did who share nothing with either other than an occupation.  

-AK 


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