The Slippery Slope – Amanda Green
I know, I know, this post is late. Blame me, not Sarah. When she asked for a post last night, I had just stumbled home after being away for most of the day and was about to fall face down in bed. So, here I am this morning, trying to get enough coffee into my system to make sense – and to keep reminding myself it isn’t good to throw my laptop through the TV screen because of the idiocy of the media and the double-standard of so many people.
I want to start by saying I have no respect for any man who lifts a hand to a woman simply because he can’t control his temper during an argument or he thinks it is his right to do so because of his maleness. I’ve worked with too many victims of abuse, adults and children, to have any sympathy for the abuser. However, I also have no use for media witch hunts using photos that are alleged to have been “police photos” but that are leaked by TMZ-like organizations without any verification of their authenticity.
In this particular instance, I’m referring to what the media has been doing for the last few days regarding Dallas Cowboys player Greg Hardy. For those not familiar with Hardy, more than a year ago he was arrested, tried and convicted on charges of domestic abuse. He appealed the conviction and it was overturned. Charges were then dismissed when his girlfriend refused to testify against him a second time.
Now, this isn’t a unique case. One of the major hurdles prosecutors have faced for years when trying domestic abuse cases has been the victim deciding not to testify after initially pressing charges. There are a number of reasons why. They range from the victim taking on the blame for what happened to agreeing to a payment from the defendant and being bound by a non-disclosure clause. Then there is also the situation, rare but valid, that the victim really isn’t the victim but has used the accusation to get back at the accused for whatever reason. In these cases, there are either no injuries or injuries that have been self-inflicted.
In Hardy’s case, it is pretty clear that he did hit his girlfriend. How many times, I don’t know and, frankly, I don’t care. He was in the wrong and he should pay for it. He had his day in court. He was convicted and the justice system determined there was an error in his trial and he should be retried. The girlfriend, for whatever reason, said she wouldn’t testify again. So the prosecutors decided not to retry Hardy.
In most situations, that would have been the end of the story. If Hardy were an accountant or writer, we’d never have heard another word about it. But because he is a pro football player, you have media mavens wondering why he was punished no more harshly than Tom Brady was for Inflategate. You have women’s activists saying they will never again cheer for the Cowboys for hiring this horrible person. For more than a week, national news has had story after story about Hardy and how wrong it is for someone like him to be playing pro football.
In other words, they want to remove the man’s profession because he hit a woman, went through the justice system and, when his case was reversed on appeal, the prosecution chose not to proceed. What he did was horrible and, in my mind, unforgivable. However, he had his day in court and should be allowed to follow his profession and, because of the safeguards the NFL has put into place in recent years, get the counselling and oversight he more than likely needs to help him learn not to do something like that again.
Look, folks, the truth of the matter is, the prosecutors made the decision not to go forward with the case. I’m not familiar with the law in the jurisdiction where the alleged assault took place. But assuming it is similar to that here in Texas, the case could have gone forward even without the cooperation of the victim. It would have been more difficult but it has been done before. The prosecutor could have called the responding officers, the detectives who investigated the case, the medical professionals who examined the victim, the victim’s friends and family – as well as the defendant’s friends and family. The prosecutor could even call the victim, albeit that would be a calculated risk because she would be a hostile witness and you don’t want to beat up on the victim in front of the jury.
All of this is a long winded way of saying that I’m tired of the double-standard. As I said, if Hardy were Joe Blow accountant or Certain Famous Writer, no one would bat an eye. He is the latest whipping boy of the media not so much because of who he is and what he did but because of the organization he works for. Ray Rice knocking his girlfriend/wife out in an elevator and Jerry Sandusky abusing who knows how many of his student athletes helped set the stage for the sort of response we are now seeing.
My question for those calling for Hardy to be drummed out of the NFL is multi-fold. First, why aren’t they going after every other employer who knows an employee has been accused of domestic violence – and why not add sex crimes to that? Second, if you remove a person from his source of income, what do you think is going to happen? Isn’t it better to leave him in a situation where he will be monitored and given counselling and supervision than to cut him off from work and income stream, thereby building his frustration and anger?
Yes, this is a roundabout way of wondering why those same folks who are screaming about all the Greg Hardys in the world aren’t doing the same about folks who openly advocate things like sex with minors or who were known to be abusing kids and yet those around them turned a blind eye. We will get up in arms over an NFL player raising his hand to a woman or kids sexting but those dirty little secrets that are known but ignored by the right thinking sort of folks are even worse. How many lives have been ruined because those folks have been protected because they were the darlings of publishing or any other industry?
Let’s look at the other side of the coin. Dallas is considering joining more than 100 other cities across the country that have removed the question on employment applications asking if the applicant has been convicted of a felony. The rationale behind it is that knowing from the beginning of the application process that someone is a convicted felon makes it too easy to dismiss them as an applicant despite their other qualifications. They have served their time, paid their debt to society and should be on even footing with every other applicant from the beginning. Besides, as city officials say, the question will be asked later in the process and considered if germane to the job being applied for.
Sounds reasonable to me. But I guess that same thinking wouldn’t apply to Hardy because he hasn’t “paid” for his crime. Well guess what, the fact he hasn’t is a direct result of the prosecutor from retrying him. I hate what he allegedly did. Hate it more than you can guess and for reasons only a few of you know. But he deserves the same treatment every other person in that situation gets. As long as he lives up to the contract provisions he has with the Cowboys and the NFL, he should be able to keep his job. We don’t have to like the man or his actions but we are going down a slippery slope when we start demanding people be removed from their profession without a conviction on their record – and he doesn’t have one.