Michelle Beadle took major issue with her employer, ESPN, giving a “redemption tour” platform to Greg Hardy, in the form of Adam Schefter’s recent interview with the free agent pass rusher. First, in an apparent response to Schefter’s earlier comments on Dan Patrick’s show that Hardy had “changed,” Beadle tweeted:
Later, on her ESPN show SportsNation, Beadle questioned the network’s decision to air the spot. “I feel dirty in that this guy has no job right now, and for some reason we’ve decided as a network that we’re going to give him the stage for his redemption tour as he basically goes out and tries to find some employment,” she said, as transcribed by PFT’s Mike Florio. “I don’t understand why we’re doing that. If he wants to figure out a way to get his message out there — which by the way, he hasn’t said he did anything wrong, so how a man is supposed to convince anybody he’s changed and yet not admit to actually doing anything? I have no idea. But why we’re giving him the forum to go out there and tell anybody that is where I’m a little bit confused.”
To me, ESPN’s decision to air Hardy’s interview is defensible. He is newsworthy, and so are his dishonesties or delusions. Letting him put those out there for people to judge one way or the other can be informative. Schefter asked appropriate follow-up questions in the interview. In this package, there could not have been many people who came away feeling like Hardy, who continues to insist on his innocence despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, is somebody worthy of forgiving.
However, Schefter also later offered the opinion that he believes Hardy is a changed man. It’s pretty difficult to reach this conclusion when the pass rusher offered nothing in the way of admission or contrition for wrongdoing when we’ve all seen the photos of his domestic violence. Beadle, who just signed a new extension with ESPN believed to be worth north of seven figures annually, was in the right to point this out.