Hardy appealed the domestic violence-related suspension and arbitrator Harold Henderson presided over the case. Henderson ultimately upheld the suspension, but significantly reduced the original ruling brought down by commissioner Roger Goodell.
“After consideration of all the record evidence and arguments, I conclude that the Commissioner acted within his authority and properly exercised his discretion in finding that Hardy violated the NFL Personal Conduct Policy,” Henderson said in a statement. “I find that the conduct of Hardy clearly violates the letter and spirit of any version of the Personal Conduct Policy since its inception, and of the NFL Constitution and Bylaws long before then.
“The egregious conduct exhibited here is indefensible in the NFL. However, ten games is simply too much, in my view, of an increase over prior cases without notice such as was done last year, when the ‘baseline’ for discipline in domestic violence or sexual assault cases was announced as a six-game suspension. Therefore, the discipline of Mr. Hardy hereby is modified to a suspension of four games; all other terms of the discipline letter remain in place.”
Hardy missed most of his 2014 season with the Carolina Panthers while his case played out in North Carolina courts. He was on the commissioner’s exempt list for 15 games, but was still paid during that time.
Hardy was initially found guilty on a domestic violence charge in North Carolina while he was a member of the Panthers, but the charges were later dismissed in February when the alleged victim did not make herself available for a jury trial.
Hardy was accused of assaulting and threatening to kill his then-girlfriend. The NFL detailed the accusations against Hardy and said there was “sufficient credible evidence” that he violated league policies when the suspension was levied.
The NFL’s investigation concluded that Hardy violated the Personal Conduct Policy by using physical force against Nicole Holder in at least four instances. First, he used physical force against her which caused her to land in a bathtub. Second, he used physical force against her which caused her to land on a futon that was covered with at least four semi-automatic rifles. Third, he used physical force against her by placing his hands around Ms. Holder’s neck and applying enough pressure to leave visible marks. And fourth, he used physical force to shove Ms. Holder against a wall in his apartment’s entry hallway.
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SOURCE: Yahoo Sports – Sam Cooper