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Kavitha A. Davidson

NFL Is Out of Excuses on Domestic Violence

Greg Hardy was lucky. Ray McDonald will test the league's seriousness.
He'll be back soon.

He'll be back soon.

Photographer: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Greg Hardy's suspension for domestic violence was reduced by an arbitrator from 10 games to four, seemingly another case of the NFL's arbitrary and inadequate disciplinary process. The truth is, Hardy's case sets up the first true test of the league's promise to get serious in punishing players who commit acts of violence against women.

Surely, reasonable people can agree that choking a woman and throwing her onto a pile of assault rifles deserves more than a four-game suspension. Hardy, now a Dallas Cowboy, was found guilty of doing just that, but his conviction was later overturned when his victim failed to appear at his appeal. I'm not going to go into the many reasons victims often don't testify against their attackers, especially NFL players, but you should read Travis Waldron's excellent piece breaking down the complexities involved. Further complicating matters are the ways in which the criminal justice system actually punishes victims who do come forward. Suffice it to say, Hardy's avoiding jail time in no way invalidates the crime for which he was initially convicted.