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Dallas mayor calls signing of Greg Hardy “a shot in the gut”

Carolina Panthers NFL football defensive end Greg Hardy leaves the Mecklenburg County jail after being released on bond in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Hardy was arrested Tuesday and charged with assault on a female and communicating threats. (AP Photo)

AP

Signing a talented player with a troubled past always creates a reaction.

But the attitude toward the Cowboys in the wake of the addition of Greg Hardy has drawn sharp rebukes there.

It was one thing for a local sportscaster to blast the Cowboys for adding a guy who missed most of last year because of domestic violence charges, but now the local government has chimed in.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the signing was disappointing to him: “As a Cowboys fan, this was a shot in the gut.”

“I’m a big Cowboys fan. I love them to death and I want them to beat the Eagles every time they play,” Rawlings said, via Sarah Mervosh of the Dallas Morning News. “But at some point, being a sports fan gets trumped by being a father, husband, wanting to do what’s right for women, so this is not a good thing. I don’t think I’m going to be buying Hardy jerseys any time soon.”

Rawlings has campaigned for anti-domestic violence efforts since taking office, and made it clear he wasn’t happy with the team, which isn’t an easy stance for a politician there to take.

Like New Jersey governor Chris Christie, he’s watched Cowboys games from Jerry Jones’ suite, and has made the traditional yet corny mayor’s bets during the playoffs.

But despite his fandom, he remains opposed to the idea of Hardy, even though the criminal charges against the free agent defensive end were thrown out after a civil settlement was reached.

“It is something that I heard about and immediately called the Cowboys this morning. I had a couple of conversations with them because I wanted to hear their side,” Rawlings said.

He said the team told him they “took this very seriously,” saying their background checks and the structure of Hardy’s contract offered some degree of protection and/or incentive for their newest addition to stay out of trouble.

The mayor said he’s still a fan, but “that doesn’t mean I have to agree with every play that’s called and every person that’s hired, and in this case, I don’t.”

And that likely makes him like many Cowboys fans, who have learned to deal with varying degrees of moral ambiguity over the years.