Temporary refuge from Greg Hardy talk on Sunday came during – of all places – NBC’s broadcast of the Cowboys-Eagles game. At least it did until halftime.
As expected in the wake of published photos of Hardy’s handy work against a woman back in North Carolina, he was the topic de jour in every network’s Sunday NFL studio from coast to coast.
But just before the game, analyst Cris Collinsworth excused himself and play-by-play voice Al Michaels from the chorus, saying they were at AT&T Stadium to call a football game.
Collinsworth is going to take lots of heat for his pronouncement but what exactly else was he supposed to say? After Michaels and Michele Tafoya gave the Joe Friday facts, Collinsworth offered this:
“We’re going to call the game,” he told what will surely be the largest national television audience of the week. “We’re going to do our job. We are as uncomfortable as anybody is with what we saw in those pictures and what we know of this court case… We’ll call the game. We may do a little commentary at some point but we’ll let it go at that.”
That point came after a 7-7 first half in which defensive end Hardy was a bit player.
Collinsworth expressed contempt for Hardy’s actions by imploring the NFL Players Association to cut his likes loose.
“We want to make sure the NFL and its players stand for something better than what Greg Hardy was a part of,” he said.
— By the way, NBC made sure it had a camera focused on Hardy all game. Ditto for Dez Bryant, who made the catch of the game in answering Matt Cassel’s “Hail Mary” pass.
— During NBC’s pre-game, Bob Costas cut the NFL slack in the Hardy affair, pointing out that commissioner Roger Goodell tried to impose a 10-game suspension that was cut to four games by an arbitrator. He called Hardy “a bad guy who happens to be a good football player.”
— In the CBS studio, Boomer Esiason was harshest of all. “(Hardy) should be in jail,” he proclaimed.
In the NFL Network studio, Brian Billick who, as a coach, won a Super Bowl with Ray Lewis as his defensive leader for the Baltimore Ravens, pointed a finger at Jerry Jones: “To me, what the Cowboys are doing is reprehensible. I think Jerry Jones is rendering his head coach absolutely useless.”
And finally, CBS’ Tony Gonzalez: “Because this whole situation from top to bottom, DeMaurice (Smith, the NFLPA boss), the Cowboys organization, everything has been handled poorly. It’s not good for the NFL. It’s not good for the fans and it’s not good for anybody.”
— Early tweet of the game, courtesy of @netw3rk, who appears to be a New Yorker with 80,000 followers: “Jason Garrett looks like if Duke from GI Joe was going through a mid-life crisis.”
— Prophetic tweet of the game from Will Cain in the fourth quarter: “I feel the pain coming.”
Credit to the Dallas Morning News who originally published this article