In addition, Hardy and his counsel, along with representatives of the NFL Players Association, met with NFL staff and investigators on March 4, at which time Hardy’s counsel made a detailed presentation and shared additional information. Hardy and his counsel also met on March 10 with the independent investigators, at which he was afforded the opportunity to discuss and respond to questions about the events of May 13, 2014. And, after having the opportunity to review certain photographs recently made available by the district attorney’s office in North Carolina, Hardy and his counsel had a further opportunity to discuss the evidence and provide a supplemental report from Hardy’s medical expert.
The NFL’s investigation concluded that Hardy violated the Personal Conduct Policy by using physical force against Nicole Holder in at least four instances. First, he used physical force against her which caused her to land in a bathtub. Second, he used physical force against her which caused her to land on a futon that was covered with at least four semi-automatic rifles. Third, he used physical force against her by placing his hands around Ms. Holderâs neck and applying enough pressure to leave visible marks. And fourth, he used physical force to shove Ms. Holder against a wall in his apartmentâs entry hallway.
“The net effect of these acts was that Ms. Holder was severely traumatized and sustained a range of injuries, including bruises and scratches on her neck, shoulders, upper chest, back, arms and feet,” Commissioner Goodell wrote. “The use of physical force under the circumstances present here, against a woman substantially smaller than you and in the presence of powerful, military-style assault weapons, constitutes a significant act of violence in violation of the Personal Conduct Policy.”
Commissioner Goodell noted that Hardy engaged in conduct detrimental to the league and that a suspension of this length would be appropriate under any version of the Personal Conduct Policy or its predecessors.
Despite numerous efforts to interview Ms. Holder, the NFL was unable to do so. It is not known whether that is the result of her entering into a civil settlement with Hardy or other factors. The commissioner’s decision is based on findings that are supported by credible corroborating evidence independent of Ms. Holderâs statements and testimony, such as testimony of other witnesses, medical and police reports, expert analyses, and photographs.
The NFL’s investigation also concluded that Hardy failed to provide complete and accurate information to NFL investigators and members of the NFL staff.
Hardy was initially arrested as a result of the May 13 incident and charged with Assault on a Female and Communicating Threats following an altercation with Ms. Holder at his residence in Charlotte, North Carolina. On July 15, he was found guilty of these charges by a state court judge following a bench trial at which both Hardy and the victim testified under oath, and during which photographic and other evidence was admitted in open court and discussed in the presence of the public and the news media. Following the judgment of conviction, Hardy was sentenced to a period of incarceration (which was suspended) and probation.