Riders should have no interest in Greg Hardy

Chris Jones has proven time and time again that he’s in the business of winning football games and doesn’t concern himself with making the popular moves. This time, making the right move and winning football games might actually go hand-in-hand.

On Tuesday, Sportsnet’s Arash Madani and Justin Dunk (who also works for 3DownNation) reported that the league has at least temporarily blocked the Riders from adding troubled defensive end Greg Hardy to their negotiation list. According to sources cited in the article, the league is still deciding whether to allow Hardy to be added to the Riders neg-list or not. The league should do the team a favour and just keep a player like Hardy out.

There’s no doubt that Hardy is one of the most talented pass rushers in football right now, however, off the field he’s a serious problem. There’s the obvious reasons why Hardy’s character should be questioned, like his domestic abuse and other legal issues outlined in this story from Deadspin in 2015. Since this incident, Hardy has not only shown no remorse, he continues to believe he’s innocent even though all of the evidence suggests otherwise. Even Ray Rice, who was also involved in a domestic violence case after video surfaced of him dragging his fiance out of an elevator has shown some degree of remorse by offering to donate his entire NFL salary to charity should someone give him another chance.

What does all of this have to do with winning football games? Well, technically nothing. Signing a guy like Hardy, if he ever actually considered signing in the CFL, would be a public relations nightmare for the team and league but based on his skill, the Riders would be better in the short term. In the long run, it would not be a good move as he’s been a headache for teams in the locker room as well. After his abuse charges, Hardy signed with the Dallas Cowboys. It seemed like a perfect match with owner and general manager Jerry Jones and his history of taking on troubled players. Ultimately, Hardy only played 12 games, after serving his four game suspension for the Cowboys in 2015. Even Jerry Jones has had enough as he’s said Hardy won’t be back with the team next season. If someone like Jerry Jones doesn’t want Hardy around his team, why should anyone else?

The Riders have had their share of off-field issues over the years. It was especially true during the Roy Shivers era, leading to the development of the infamous code of conduct which has been loosely followed since. Most recently, we all remember the incident on Dewdney avenue in Regina involving Taj Smith, Dwight Anderson and Eron Riley. Anderson and Riley had their charges dropped while Smith’s were stayed in March. As pointed out in the Sportsnet article, new Riders defensive back Justin Cox has also been charged with domestic assault charges twice, but never convicted. The circumstances around Cox’s arrests aren’t as well known but still disturbing nonetheless.

While stuff does happen from time-to-time, and there is a time and place for a second chance, Hardy has already had his and has proven to not only have issues away from the stadium but in the room as well. The Riders would be smart to keep their distance.

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.