Screaming Eagles fan poll rejects signing DE Greg Hardy

ByDarren Rovell ESPN logo
Thursday, March 30, 2017

A 10-hour fan vote by an indoor football team in Utah asking whether the team should sign former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy ended in a "no" Thursday morning.

Results on the team's app, which fans use to vote to call plays during games for the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, of the Indoor Football League, was a virtual 50-50 tie, but the team announced Thursday that 50.1 percent of voters were against Hardy being offered a contract.

The Screaming Eagles had posted a notice to fans saying that Hardy wanted to play for the team. They asked fans to vote on whether they should sign Hardy, a former Pro Bowl player who missed 15 games in the 2014 season and four games in 2015 for his role in a domestic violence case in North Carolina.

"We understood this fan vote to sign Greg Hardy would be controversial, but we believe in empowering fans to make the final decision, the right decision," the team said in a statement. "We stand behind what was agreed upon and what is best for the team's future success."

A person with knowledge of the team's discussions with Hardy told ESPN that if the fans had supported his addition, Hardy would have been activated immediately and played in Friday's game against the Colorado Crush at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah.

Hardy, 28, played five seasons for the Carolina Panthers and had 15 sacks for the team in 2013, when he was picked for the Pro Bowl.

He played only one game in 2014 before being placed on the commissioner's exempt list following a domestic violence incident in North Carolina in May 2014. Hardy was convicted on charges of domestic violence in a bench trial by a judge. After an appeal, the case was thrown out in February 2015, when the woman who accused him stopped cooperating with authorities.

Prosecutors said they believed Hardy and the woman had reached a settlement. Hardy's record was expunged, but in November 2015, Deadspin released photos from the night of the alleged incident that showed bruising to his ex-girlfriend's back, jaw and feet.

The NFL suspended Hardy for the first 10 games of the 2015 season without pay on grounds that he had violated the league's personal conduct policy. The NFL cited the presence of guns in his apartment in the ruling. On appeal, the suspension was reduced to four games.

The Dallas Cowboys signed Hardy to a one-year deal worth as much as $13.1 million, and he joined the team after the four-game suspension. But his performance on the field was inconsistent. He had six sacks in 12 games. He also got into arguments with teammates and coaches and made questionable comments to reporters and on social media. The Cowboys did not renew his contract, and he went unsigned during free agency.

Hardy also was arrested in 2016 on a charge of cocaine possession and reached a plea deal on a misdemeanor.