(This article originally appeared on the Texas Baptists web site.)
A violent man is coming to Dallas. He didn’t simply pick North Texas as a good place to live; a wealthy family in the city offered him $11 million to come to town.
Greg Hardy is indeed coming to Big D. Hardy will be the newest pass rushing “savior” of the highest profile American football team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Hardy, however, has a past. Last year, a judge found him guilty of assaulting and threatening to kill his girlfriend. Hardy then requested a jury trial, which never happened because the girlfriend would not cooperate with the prosecution. She, instead, accepted an out-of-court settlement. In my neighborhood, we would say Hardy paid her to keep her mouth shut.
Now Hardy can go back to doing what he does best – rushing quarterbacks, at least after the NFL punishes him in some way for what he did.
Hardy is a violent man in a violent game. But football is no longer just a game; it’s a business where men get paid a fortune to destroy one another.
I love football. I plan my autumn weekends around it. I get emotionally wrapped up in certain teams. There’s just something about American football that is like no other sport.
But I’m not a violent guy. I haven’t been in a fight since grade school, and the last time I physically tried to hurt someone was 35 years ago in a softball game when I threw an elbow to the first baseman’s ribs. Oh, wait, 15 years ago, I intentionally fouled a better soccer player twice before being caught.
Maybe I’m a violent guy after all. It’s lurking beneath the surface of my calm, aging, less-than-hulking exterior.
The Bible chronicles the violence of man in the earliest days of existence. There is something in our makeup, which bends people toward violence – some do their violence physically, others do it emotionally.
Hardy is not alone. There is a violence in all of us that needs to be tamed, and God desires to help us tame it.
Our Christian prayers should be for Greg Hardy as a man. He apparently has done some heinous things. Let’s pray he realizes it’s wrong to strike another person, that is when said person is not on a football field. We can kind of see how a person with a certain disposition and a lack of moral constraint could fail to learn there is a difference.
I am encouraged that there are men playing football who are not violent off the field. I think of the late Reggie White, who played the same position as Hardy, and there are more. For them, football provides an important release for violent impulses. They are taking out their energy and aggression on other people of roughly the equivalent size and strength who have chosen to do the same thing.
Domestic violence is such a cowardly act. Most domestic violence is committed by men. We need to do a better job of helping boys learn early that striking another person, especially a woman, is wrong. And, frankly, this has to start with their dads and other men in their lives.
Men, never strike a woman. But also, women, never strike a man.
If you want to hit something, go outside and play some football with someone of your on size and gender. And, yes, some women can play.