Babe Laufenberg played for the Dallas Cowboys in the late-80s and early-90s and is now a Cowboys radio analyst, all of which is to say he’s gotten to know Jerry Jones quite well over the years.
Jones has been criticized for his signing and handling of Greg Hardy this year, standing by a man who abused his ex-girlfriend and even calling him a leader, an inspiration and deserving of a second chance.
The public, by and large, finds this admiration for Hardy sickening. But what about someone who knows Jones personally? What’s your reaction?
“I guess I would take exception probably to the notion that (Hardy is) a leader,” Laufenberg said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I don’t know if Jerry said inspiration, but once you brought him on board, you bring in the whole package. He did it with Terrell Owens. You kind of know what you’re getting into. Now it kind of changes from day-to-day, week-to-week, but there are going to be issues that arise when you bring those players on. The question is, are you ready to handle it and deal with it? Eventually Terrell Owens wore out his welcome here, just as he did in San Francisco and Philadelphia. I always liked the Don Schula mantra: ‘We will tolerate you until we replace you.’ Obviously Greg Hardy is a really, really good football player. We can make other judgements as to the type of person, but he’s a good football player. Jerry Jones is just not risk-averse. As a matter of fact, the nature of his business in oil and gas is you put a hole in the ground and you hope something pops out. I would not be able to survive in that business because I would want the sure bet. Jerry is a risk-taker and he sees the risk as worth the reward, whereas some of us may not.”
But for Jones – and really, the NFL – to allow Hardy to continue playing even after photos of a battered Nicole Holder have surfaced just seems, well, wrong.
“I do think the NFL should stand for something,” Laufenberg said. “When Roger Goodell took over, he said the shield means something. The original thing was a two-game suspension if you were convicted of domestic violence, and there was an outcry about that with Ray Rice. It looked a little light. But in fairness, Goodell, who had seen the photos, put a 10-game suspension on Hardy. It went to arbitration and the arbitrator said, ‘No, too stiff,’ and they cut it back to four. So I don’t know where the answer is in terms of suspensions, fines and just simply not having the guy in the league. Obviously if an owner doesn’t give him a job, he’s not going to have a job in the NFL, and Jerry Jones was willing to give him one. I don’t know how many other owners were willing to do that.”