Cowboys Criticized For Letting Greg Hardy Play Despite Grisly Photos of Ex's Injuries

There's growing outrage over the disturbing leaked photos that show bruises all over the body of NFL star Greg Hardy’s ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder.

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The photos were taken by police after the Dallas Cowboy star defensive end was arrested last year for assaulting her. The images, which were obtained by Deadspin, show a distinct abrasion under her chin, her arms and feet are black and blue.

Despite the photos, the team's owner, Jerry Jones, is standing by his player and said he deserves a "second chance." 

According to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, Jones said: "Greg has a commitment to us. He has a commitment to do the right thing. We expect him to do the right thing. He has a commitment to his teammates and our team. The way it’s set up in the NFL, relative to behavior, and in fact we wanted to give Greg a second chance.

“And you lose that in the NFL if you don’t do the right things. If he will do the right things, if he will take advantage of the opportunities that he has got there and this second chance, then we’ll see how it goes.”

Hardy was on the field for Sunday’s game and many questioned why he was even allowed to play.

NBC’s Bob Costas said: “The photos only provide more graphic proof of what we already knew -- Greg Hardy is a bad guy who happens to be a good football player.”

Right before opening kickoff between the Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, announcer Cris Collinsworth said: "We're going to call the game. We're going to do our job. We're just as uncomfortable as anybody is with what we saw in those pictures and what we know of this court case.

"Unfortunately, Greg Hardy is going to be a big part of this story. We'll call the game. We may do a little commentary at some point, but we'll let it go at that."

Hardy was convicted last July of assault, after cops say he threw Nicole Holder against a bathroom wall and tried to strangle her and a neighbor called 911. 

Hardy appealed the conviction and was expunged because Holder stopped cooperating with prosecuters. 

Since then, she has virtually disappeared, but INSIDE EDITION was able to access her Instagram page. She posted a photo five days ago in Miami with the caption: “Take time to do what makes your soul happy.”

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One photo shows her on Halloween in Charleston, South Carolina. Other photos were taken on a tour of Europe this past summer.

Hardy was suspended by the NFL for four games but now ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who stood up for Hardy in the past, says the punishment didn't go far enough.

“When I saw those pictures for the first time Friday, I said, ‘My God, why is this guy in the NFL?’”

Fans also expressed outrage on Twitter:

After the game, coach Jason Garrett told reporters: "We as an organization, we don’t condone domestic violence. We take the issue very, very seriously. We knew when we signed Greg Hardy there would be some criticism that came with that. We laid out expectations for Greg right from the start.

"We decided that we were going to give him a second chance, but in doing so, the expectations and the standards that we set would be very clear to him -- how he, and really everybody else, is supposed to conduct themselves on the football field and off the football field.

"And those expectations and those standards are very clear to him. We decided to give him a second chance. He’s worked hard for our football team up to this point. He knows what the expectations and standards are, and we’re going to hold him accountable to those.”

Before Sunday Night Football, Greg Hardy tweeted:

This is not the first domestic abuse saga to hit the league.

Last year, NFL star Ray Rice was released from the league after video emerged of him striking his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City casino. He has since been reinstated into the NFL but as a free agent. No team has yet signed the controversial star. 

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