An Open Letter to the Dallas Cowboys Football Team

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To the players of the Dallas Cowboys:

This isn’t to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, or Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for good reason. These men have made their stance on Greg Hardy -- and other domestic abusers -- very clear: they aren’t going to do anything. It could be argued that Jerry Jones’ only concern should be keeping good players on the field, and that Goodell has legal issues to deal with when it comes to possibly having to ban a contracted player, but the reality is they've chosen to be cowards.

So, to the men that have to get on the field and play alongside Greg Hardy, it now falls on your shoulders to do the right thing. I know you can’t choose your teammates. But, I also know that getting into a huddle, or sharing a sideline, with a man who beats women, would make me more than uncomfortable. It would make me angry. Because I have a girlfriend. I have a sister. I have a mother. I have female friends. I understand the size dynamics between even the most average NFL player and the average human female, and I can only muse as to the savagery, callousness, and unchecked ferocity it would take to do what he did.

I also realize you’re professionals. In most cases what a teammate does off the field shouldn’t be a factor to how well you play together. But, Greg Hardy’s actions transcend the importance of maintaining that professionalism. Think about what you’re saying by putting on the same uniform as Greg Hardy. What allegiance are you declaring to your wives and girlfriends by not doing something? Do you want to explain to your children that it’s OK to have a monster on your side as long as you’re winning football games?

I’m asking you all to stand up together, and at the very least say, “Playing with this man makes me uncomfortable.” I’m sorry to have to say this, but to not do so makes each of you contemptuous of the matter, and undermines what little dignity the NFL has left due to these all-too-common occurrences. I like to think you’re good men, and I’m sure deciding how to handle this weighs heavily. You have families, contracts, financial concerns, etc. But who else can this responsibility fall upon when no one else is taking action? Save yourself the embarrassment of having to don the same uniform as Greg Hardy and simply say, “I don’t want to be associated with this man. If he’s playing, I’m not.” I’m asking you to stand up against the cowards, not as professional football players, but as men, and to do the right thing -- which at this point, sadly, would be anything at all.

Thank you for listening,



Jeff Payne


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