When we talk about leadership, we talk about the qualities that make someone a good leader.
And while those traits are usually of a positive nature, a good leader is not necessarily synonymous with a good person.
This past Sunday night, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called 27-year-old defensive end Greg Hardy "one of the real leaders on this team," and the entire world's collective jaw dropped.
Watch the reporter's face in the background while Jerry Jones calls Greg Hardy a "real leader" pic.twitter.com/oHgbEDgf3i — John Gonzalez (@gonzoCSN) October 26, 2015
We freaked out, much like the reporter, because Jones turned an egregious blind eye toward a man who once threw a woman on a futon covered with semiautomatic weapons then dragged her around the house by her hair before shoving her up against a wall and choking her so hard he left clear marks.
Those details are graphic, but they have to be told. We can no longer just use the words "domestic violence" and get the point across.
Domestic violence is clearly too easy to sweep under the rug.
That must be the case, right? Why else would the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones think it's acceptable to reward a player who was found guilty of assault and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend?
Jones obviously feels a four-game suspension -- initially, 10 -- is the appropriate psychological recovery time for a person who's capable of such deviant behavior.
Jones' comments Sunday night stem from Hardy's actions during the Cowboys' loss to the Giants earlier that day.
During the game, Hardy absolutely lost it on the sidelines, laying into teammates and coaches, showing a horrific glimpse of that infamous temper.
Things got intense on the Cowboys' sideline Sunday... WFAA Sports' Arnold Payne captured video of Greg Hardy getting heated with teammates after Dwayne Harris returned a kick 100 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.READ: http://on.wfaa.com/1N1Dn8a Posted by WFAA-TV on Sunday, October 25, 2015
Greg Hardy's face was first jammed down our throats back on October 6 when he addressed the media ahead of his first game back from suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
He said he was hoping to "come out guns blazing," which, if you ask me, wasn't a poor choice of words, it was a calculated statement to show Greg Hardy is no fool.
Greg Hardy is as intelligent as he is brutal, which makes him far more dangerous than some jock who simply doesn't know how to use words instead of fists.
Greg Hardy: "I pretty much feel like the Kraken. With a lot of the sea creature style. Same old G-Hardy." — Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 6, 2015
When asked if he was remorseful about his actions and his suspension, Hardy chose to focus solely on football.
But when asked about his upcoming opponent that week, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the defensive end wanted only to talk about Brady's wife and her sister.
Greg Hardy on facing Brady: "I love seeing Tom Brady. You seen his wife? I hope she comes to the game. I hope her sister comes to the game." — Brandon George (@DMN_George) October 6, 2015
When asked if he had any plans to work with domestic violence charities to better his image and himself as a person, Hardy, never one to mince words, once again chose to give an answer that had nothing to do with the question.
Greg Hardy on if he has any intentions to work with domestic violence charity: “I feel the best way to win a game is stick to the game plan." — Brandon George (@DMN_George) October 6, 2015
Greg Hardy, a womanizer and abuser, couldn't go 15 minutes without showing exactly why he should have never been given the chance to play another down in the NFL.
But that's not how it works, and that's why you should direct your anger at folks other than Greg Hardy.
Be angry with Jerry Jones, a greedy old man who's so desperate to win, he'd sell his soul. Jones is reportedly ready to sign Hardy to a multi-year deal after this season.
Be angry with a local reporter who only exacerbated Hardy's locker room interview by asking him to comment on the physical appearance of Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles' wife.
Be angry with the NFL, an organization that treats women like an eighth-grade science experiment, not knowing how to approach for fear of pushing the wrong button.
Just watch and cheer on Sunday, honey, and leave the decisions and issues to the men, OK? Oh, and don't forget to buy one of those pink jerseys.
At least when Ray Rice spoke up after his deplorable actions he was remorseful and acknowledged the fact he did something that, for some, can never be forgiven.
Speaking with ESPN's Jamele Hill, Rice said,
Domestic violence is real. It happens every 12 seconds as we speak. I made a life-long commitment to my wife and to my daughter, to the survivors of domestic violence, to go out there and not only help but share my story so that men can make better decisions. That was the worst decision I've ever made in my life.
New York Jets wide receiver Brendan Marshall recently shared his thoughts on Hardy on Showtime's "Inside the NFL."
When I look at Greg and how he's handled himself, on the field and in the locker room, I see a guy that is not aware. He doesn't understand the magnitude of what happened last year, what he did and the atmosphere surrounding the NFL. I don't think that he gets it. I don't think that he learned his lesson. And he really needs to look himself in the mirror and ask himself, 'What type of person do I want to be?'
Greg Hardy has already made that decision. He may be a leader on the football field by hitting the hardest and screaming the loudest, but as a man, it's hard to think of anyone less synonymous with the word "leadership."
Citations: Brennan: Greg Hardy remains unapologetic, yet will be cheered on Sunday (USA TODAY), Brandon Marshall on Greg Hardy: 'I don't think he gets it' (ESPN), The Dallas Cowboys Are Going All-In On Abusive Greg Hardy (Huffington Post), Why Greg Hardy's return to the NFL is a problem (YouTube)