*Defensive end Greg Hardy, currently an unsigned in free agent, denied Monday during a one-on-one interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he has ever hit a woman.
Hardy was speaking about the 2014 incident in which he was accused of beating his former girlfriend Nicole Holder in Charlotte, North Carolina, when he was playing for the Carolina Panthers. He denied he ever hit her.
“I’ve never put my hand on any women,” Hardy said.
“In my whole entire life, No sir,” he said, adding that he was raised to never hit a woman and violence against his siblings, brother or sister, wasn’t tolerated.
Hardy, 27, was accused by Holder of throwing her against a bathroom wall, throwing her on a bed covered with assault rifles, choking her and threatening her life during an altercation at his apartment.
Schefter reminded Hardy that pictures of Holder following the incident showed her with multiple bruises all over her body.
“Pictures are pictures and they can be made to look like whatever they want to,” Hardy said. “I didn’t say I didn’t do anything wrong. That situation occurred and that situation was handled but as a man you can’t avoid situations that aren’t your fault or are your fault,” he said.
He was convicted on charges of domestic violence in 2014 in a bench trial. He appealed, seeking a jury trial, but the case was thrown out in February 2015 when Holder stopped cooperating with authorities. Hardy filed a petition last year in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, to have his domestic violence charges expunged from his record.
On Monday, Hardy called his conviction in the bench trial a “flimsy situation” and “a product of miscommunication.”
“Saying I did nothing wrong is a stretch but saying I’m innocent is correct, sir,” he said.
Hardy acknowledged that the “backlash” over the incident with Holder has contributed to his remaining unsigned this offseason.
Last year, the league issued Hardy a 10-game suspension for multiple violations of the personal conduct policy in connection with the incident with Holder, but that suspension was reduced to four games on appeal.
He played for the Dallas Cowboys last season on a one-year deal after five seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He has 40 career sacks, six coming last season for the Cowboys.