NFL, Media Enable Character Defects

Brett Starkopf

Domestic violence has become an epidemic in the professional sports realm for some years now. However, in lieu of the NFL’s popularity, domestic violence instances are brought to the forefront of sports media and it seems the NFL does the least about it. In fact, the majority of domestic violence suspensions aren’t carried out to their full sentence, making the league seem like enablers.


One such offender was Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, who played in his first game Oct. 11 after serving a four game suspension (reduced from 10) for a domestic violence offense. Hardy was arrested for assaulting and threatening his then-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, in May 2014 after he threw her on a bed full of guns and told her, “The assault rifles are loaded.” He was found guilty by a judge but didn’t serve out a sentence after the charges were dropped during the appeal process (Holder did not show up to court). The NFL conducted an independent investigation in 2015 and consequently found him guilty and suspended him.

During his first media session prior to the Week 5 contest, Hardy showed zero remorse for his wrongdoing.

Hardy said, “I hope I come out guns blazing” when asked about his first game.


As a member of a college medium and having studied journalism a little bit, I know that media members love buzzwords to use in their articles. However, a professional journalist should understand that using the “guns blazing” in an article about a guy who was found guilty of threatening his then-girlfriend with an assault rifle is irresponsible reporting, regardless of the fact that it is a direct quote. That comment shows that Hardy has not been in any way rehabilitated, the NFL’s conduct policy is broken and the media shouldn’t encourage it either.

Katie Nolan, host of Garbage Talk on Fox Sports 1, agrees with me. She went on a three-and-a-half minute diatribe regarding this situation in a video posted on her YouTube page where she stated her thoughts regarding Hardy’s comments and the reporting.

“That’s baffling to me,” Nolan said during the segment “and not just as a woman, as a person who majored in public relations. How do you let that comment happen? Oh, I’m sorry, Not just let it happen — publish it on the (NFL’s) official website.”

Hardy then followed up his “guns blazing” remark with sexist comments regarding Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bündchen, and her sister.

This guy is a good human. The league definitely did its due diligence by not letting him play in four whole games.

While it was wrong for him to make disparaging remarks about Bündchen and her sister, regardless of the fact if he was joking or not, it’s even worse is that it was reported, insensitively.

I understand that these reporters are just doing their jobs, but Nolan also referenced a question asked by a reporter from USA Today to Hardy objectifying another player’s “significant other.”

For a while now, the NFL has been a joke of a sexist boys club that literally allows their players to get away with murder (allegedly) and now the media is joining this ridiculous circus. Women in the sports world are subjected to onslaughts of sexism and bigotry and now it’s happening to women outside of the sport.


Just so the media member can tweet a quote and it can get 1,000 favorites or likes or whatever?

Give me a break.

The PC-culture is real and, admittedly, I am normally not for political correctness. But this is where I draw the line. As a prospective journalist, I know there are limitations for what you can and cannot, should and should not publish. Sexist remarks for a cheap laugh shouldn’t be one of them. So what if Greg Hardy made those comments, he didn’t publish them. You did, Dallas Morning News and USA Today.

Should I expect the media to stop doing their job and help players grow as people? No, of course not. The NFL should. Chances are if Hardy weren’t a top DE in the league he would have been suspended for the full 10 games, if not kicked out of the league. But Jerry Jones needs his 11- million-dollar-baby and Roger Goodell needs to be liked.

But what I expect from sports media is to not degrade players’ wives or girlfriends and encourage that kind of behavior. If the journalists who run that story said, “Hey Greg Hardy, you said these things and they make you look bad,” I wouldn’t have to rant about this. And neither would Katie Nolan.