No one denies that Nicole Holder was a victim of serious crime at the hands of Greg Hardy. What took place was retold in great detail by a Deadspin. In a revealing account, released photos of the assault showed that Nicole Holder took the brunt of the punishment during the exchange between her and the Dallas Cowboys defensive end. Now that the photos revealing the abuse have been made public, a question must be raised. Who dropped the ball?
It took Nicole Holder to experience a near death event for the charges to be taken seriously it appears. What happened to her could and should change so many things. Greg Hardy's assault on her was perhaps more heinous than the much-publicized punch that former NFL running back Ray Rice delivered to his now wife, Janay. That assault was originally swept under the rug by the NFL until TMZ and ABC News released a videotape of the incident took place. It was then that the people in the position to change things took the matter seriously.
No one ever wants to be a victim of physical abuse. It is difficult to get a conviction. There are menacing words that are hurled in the direction of the accuser. Victim blaming also takes place.
Something that many victims will hear someone inquire is, "Did you say or do anything to provoke him?"
Nicole Holder knew this. She was just involved in an altercation with an NFL star. Holder even said to the police that nothing was going to happen to him [Greg Hardy].
According to the Charlotte Observer, Mecklenburg District Judge Becky Thorne Tin found Greg Hardy guilty of assault and communicating threats; both were considered to be misdemeanors. She gave Hardy a 60-day suspended sentence and 18 months of probation. Because the state of North Carolina has a law that allows any found guilty of a misdemeanor crime the right to an automatic appeal, Hardy would go on to win the appeal, and Nicole Holder did not receive any justice for the assault against her.
This is despite the bruises and abrasions on her body. In fact, during the night of the assault, Hardy tried to make it seem like he has the victim, which created a little bit of doubt about Holder's story.The NFL did try to do their part in punishing Hardy. Their attempt at suspending him for 10 games this season would have sent a strong message had it been upheld. An arbitration judge would eventually reduce the ban to four games. That was more than the two games that Rice was given. Rice, who was dropped by the Baltimore Ravens, was never offered a contract by an NFL team. Hardy was swooped up by the Dallas Cowboys before a suspension was handed down. Hardy winning on appeal and having the ability to return to work was the disservice Nicole Holder originally spoke of. There was no punishment for the crimes against her to give her closure. There were even some suggestions that Hardy paid her off. Does that excuse what took place?
As fans of the Dallas Cowboys awaited Hardy's debut, there was no mention of Nicole Holder. Meanwhile, Holder, a victim of domestic violence, has not been heard from in a while. Those who celebrated Greg Hardy's arrival did not see the photos prior to his signing. The pictures were unavailable to the public. That said, it should not have taken the release of the pictures for the public to express their outrage over the assault.
The incident did not get as much media coverage as it deserved. This is mainly because the Ray Rice story took over the front pages. It is sad that what Greg Hardy did to Nicole Holder was far more heinous. All it should have taken for people to be upset was the initial conviction. No one needed to see photos. That fact that the Nicole Holder pictures came to the light allowed us to intensify our focus on the severity of the attack.
The justice system failed Nicole Holder. The NFL failed Nicole Holder. The Dallas Cowboys failed her as well. Also, we dropped the ball here. Had we not, Nicole Holder would have some form of solace besides the rumored settlement that people assumed she received. The power of public opinion is strong. It should have been used somehow.
[Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images Sport]