Greg Hardy has been a big topic going into NFL Week 4 and his comments after coming back from his four-game suspension for domestic violence have been in the news. On Sunday, Fox NFL Sunday’s Terry Bradshaw offered some strong feelings about Hardy’s return saying he wished the Cowboys defensive end had not been allowed to come back.
You would think other announcers would offer similar opinions and CBS’ Jim Nantz did. During Sunday’s New England-Dallas game, Jim Nantz did come out strongly against Hardy and denounced his comments last week about Tom Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen. And while Nantz was critical of him, his on-air partner Phil Simms was not in concert, taking a wishy-washy approach saying Hardy’s impact on the Cowboys was more valuable than his off-the-field demeanor.
Normally an on-air team would be together on an issue, but instead, Simms was practically making excuses for Hardy. But while Nantz offered a strong opinion on Hardy, earlier in the day, the NFL Today offered what amounted to a promotional video for Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
CBS sent Bill Cowher to Dallas to interview Jones. As Howard Cosell once said, you can’t get journalism from an ex-jock and as Cowher used to play and was a coach, one really can’t expect him to ask a tough question in this setting. Cowher did ask Jones about Hardy, but it was such a softball question that Jones basically gave a softball answer (“I know that he needs us. He’s our teammate.”) before the interview went onto other topics.
Following the feature on Jones, James Brown praised Cowher for getting Jones to talk and for gaining his respect, but it was really more an opportunity for the Cowboys owner to provide his unadulterated spin on a story that has dominated the NFL for the past week.
In addition, CBS Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves was seen during the Patriots-Cowboys game sitting with Jones in the owner’s box at AT&T Stadium. Does it show a cozy relationship between CBS and the NFL? Jones is a member of the NFL Broadcasting Committee and there’s no doubt CBS needs his help to keep Thursday Night Football which is up for bid after the season.
So while Nantz was critical of Hardy and his lack of contrition last week, CBS gave Jones an outlet to give his spin on the issue and not be challenged. It’s the way as business partnerships are forged between television and the National Football League.