APRIL 20, 2015 – Mecklenberg County, NC
Pro football player, Greg Hardy, has petitioned for an expungement of his criminal record. According to Hardy’s attorney, Tony Scheer, “He’s been found guilty of absolutely nothing…”
This is actually true. The charges against Hardy were dismissed on the first day of trial after his accuser failed to show up to court. Hardy did, however, reach a settlement with his accuser before the trial began.
The expungement would remove all details of the case, including his mugshot, from the county’s records. However, the case was highly publicized after charges were filed, and are not likely to ever disappear from the internet. While this is a tragedy of today’s technological advances, the expungement would place Hardy in a better position were this type of crime happen again.
Furthermore, if the day ever came where he would need to apply for a job outside of football, he wouldn’t have to report this case on the application.
Regardless, Hardy still faces a suspension regarding the incident. The National Football League has recently began better self-policing techniques as they have seen a plague of its players charged with domestic violence. The most prominent case was that of former Baltimore Raven’s star Ray Rice.
Rice was caught on elevator surveillance video punching his, then fiancé-now wife, in the face and knocking her out. He then was videoed dragging her unconscious body down the hall to their hotel room.
Ironically, Rice avoided serving an indefinite suspension for his actions. Although his team severed his contract once the video went public, Rice’s suspension defense team argued that his suspension was tantamount to a second sentence.
An arbitrator who evaluated the suspension appeal agreed. It will be interesting to see how Hardy’s case shakes out given the history of actions taken by teams and the league. Teams may find their hands tied when deciding how to handle these cases. It might be a good strategic move to end contracts with domestic abusers, however, if the player then is unable to be suspended by the NFL and becomes a free agent, the team’s closest rival has the opportunity to sign that player to a contract.
The NFL has responded to the rash of bad PR by enacting new policies for violent offenders. Commissioner Roger Goodell called the policy, “…significantly more robust, thorough and formal.” Domestic abusers employed by the NFL will receive paid 6-game suspensions – longer for aggravated circumstances – for crimes including domestic violence and sexual assault. Unfortunately, the NFL Player’s Association has not seen the policy, and has yet to approve or endorse it.
Chris Fialko, the attorney handling Hardy’s expungement is quoted, “Every day Americans who have misdemeanor charges dismissed, file for expungement of charges from their criminal record.” Hardy’s case is no different, and his charges, given a clean background check, should be expunged in about four months.