Greg Hardy’s punishment situation is officially final. 4 games off. It’s hard to look at that result and not shake your head in wonderment as the NFL once again seems to pull a punishment out of their butt. This is complicated and I have OPINIONS, so Chicago Bear with me as we go on a magical journey of anger and indignation.

Now a lot of people are pointing out the injustice that “Greg Hardy gets 4 games for beating a woman and Brady gets 4 games for letting some air out of a football, how is this fair”. I don’t like this line of thinking. I think it’s honestly an unfair comparison. Hardy didn’t really get 4 games, he got a full year plus 4 games. He sat out all last year. He got paid, sure, but he was suspended all season. This was going to be an additional number of games added on. Secondly, Brady’s suspension hasn’t been finalized yet, and there is a good to great chance he at least gets it reduced (I still predict 2 games). So lets not compare these two yet, shall we? Thirdly, Hardy’s situation was an off-field incident. Brady’s was an on-field transgression. Brady broke no real laws, just NFL laws, so it’s okay that the NFL is acting as judge, jury, & executioner because his case is entirely an NFL matter. Hardy was not, and in the eyes of the law, he is free and fine. He was not convicted. The NFL right now is essentially only punishing him purely on possible damage he cause to their image. I’d argue that no matter how guilty you think he is, it’s not the NFL’s job to punish him for off the field acts. They are under no true obligation to punish him at all, really, what he did was barely their problem. He’s getting punished for the #brand damage, not for hitting anyone. Hell I’ll take it one step further and suggest that the NFL punishing Hardy based on crimes he was never convicted for is in some ways just as much a travesty of justice as giving a convicted criminal an easy break. If you got in trouble with the law, but you were never convicted or proven guilty, wouldn’t you be mad if your place of employment punished you for it anyway, based purely on some preconceived notions? It seems a touch unfair when you look at it a certain way.

But regardless of how unfair the comparison between Brady and Hardy is, there is a clear and obvious perception about it. They have to realize that people are going to compare the two anyway. They have to realize just how bad this looks. They have to have someone aware of the perception they are putting out here. Yet nobody is coming out to try and dissuade it, to turn the conversation in their favor. I just spent the last paragraph defending the NFL more effectively than anything the NFL itself has done. I think Hardy should have gotten 6 games. I’m surprised he got 10 initially, and surprised again when it was reduced to 4. 6 games was the policy Goodell came up with after the Ray Rice PR disaster, so that’s what he deserved. The fact that he got 4 games just feels…random. It feels like the NFL just pulled a random number that they felt was fair out of their butt. If you aren’t going to follow the policy than give a reason why. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. No punishment outside the strictly defined substance abuse policy seems to have any sort of base. For ages it feels like Goodell has just pulled whatever he felt like doing out of his butt. It’s disgraceful and if the NFL actually has a thought process and basis for these punishments, they should be transparent with them. They should explain the reasoning behind the decisions. Yet they never do, it’s baffling. How do they not realize how bad it looks? They simply want to punish him because he damaged “the shield”. They are too stupid to realize their own actions here are damaging their #brand as much if not more than anything Hardy did. Are they honestly that egotistical and “above” us that they genuinely think none of that matters? Even after they got torn apart for this very thing last year? I think letting us know the reasoning and methods in which they came to their punishment conclusions would be smart, they’d have a chance to defend themselves. Instead they just try to sneak it out on a late Friday quiet news dump trying to hope no one notices. We notice. The double edged sword of being so popular is that we always notice.

All this has done is shown the NFL still has no goddamn clue. That they haven’t learned jack from last year. While this probably won’t blow up in their faces as much as Rice did, it feels like another Ray Rice situation is coming at any second, because the NFL is still doing everything wrong.

Lastly, as for Hardy himself, I don’t know if he’s guilty of this crime. I think he is, but it’s just complicated enough that I don’t wish to go around preaching it as if it is true. The only fact about Greg Hardy that is 100% true is that he chose the Dallas Cowboys, and for that he can go straight to hell.