One day after announcing the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles would be leaving it up to the fans on if they would offer former NFL Pro Bowl defensive lineman Greg Hardy a contract, the results are in.
The team announced early Thursday morning that the fans have spoken and the Hardy contract was voted a “NO.”
According to the release, “NO” edged out “YES” by the narrowest margin possible, 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent. As a result, Hardy, who reached out to the team, and then saw the team reach out to former teammates and coaches to get a judgement of his abilities and character, will not be offered a contract from the Indoor Football League franchise.
The full vote totals were not released in the release.
Here is the full release, from the team website:
Every successful professional sport franchise makes tough player personnel decisions, weighing the pros and cons from behind closed doors without fan input and media scrutiny. Fans have never been privy to those conversations.
FANchise and the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles have provided fans with a truly interactive, immersive experience with unprecedented access to those private and difficult discussions, ones that give power to the fans to have an open and healthy debate.
We understood this fan vote to sign Greg Hardy would be controversial, but we believe in empowering fans to make the final decision, the right decision. We stand behind what was agreed upon and what is best for the team’s future success.
The fan vote was extremely close, with 50.1 percent voting against Greg Hardy being offered a contract by the Screaming Eagles. The fans have spoken; Hardy will not be offered a contract.
Hardy, 28 had his best season in 2013 when he racked up 15 sacks for the Carolina Panthers, making the Pro Bowl. He last played in the NFL in 2015 for the Dallas Cowboys, totaling six sacks in 12 games.
I’m going to be honest, I think the results of this a very suspicious. When I voted at around 2 p.m. CST, those in favor of signing Hardy were at 67 percent. ESPN’s Darren Rovell posted about the fan poll at around 10 p.m. CST and reported that the results at that time were approximately the same.
I think this is the team trying to cover up for this decision, that was almost universally met with negative reaction for potentially bringing a domestic abuser to the team. It’s really odd that the voting would be so close, and with “NO” winning by the absolute minimum margin.
The screaming Eagles are back in action Friday night when they host the Colorado Crush, the other “fan”chise in the league that allows fans to vote on things like what plays to call. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. MST and can be streamed free on YouTube or Sports Illustrated.