Jerry Jones says he believes in giving second chances

BY foxsports • August 2, 2015

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has taken heat this off-season for doling out redemption to the likes of free agent defensive end Greg Hardy and second-rounder Randy Gregory, also a defensive end. But the three-time Super Bowl-winning owner says his philosophy in doing so is sports being about second chances.

"Sports gives us the grandest opportunity of all to talk about reaching down and helping up or getting on somebody else's shoulders," Jones said in an interview with KXAS-TV Sunday night. "And, so, it is almost a natural thing to reach other there and say to somebody that's got God-given gifts to play at the NFL level, at the Dallas Cowboy level, 'Hey, get it together. Come over here and do something special, and while you're doing it, help the Dallas Cowboys and at the same time show a lot of people that you're not the negative that a lot think you are now."

On March 18, the Cowboys signed Hardy to a one-year, $11.3 million contract after the 27-year-old veteran spent all but one game suspended by the Carolina Panthers for a domestic violence conviction in Feb. 2014 (he appealed the judge's decision and charges were dropped when the woman involved failed to show for trial). Local leaders and domestic violence awareness groups panned the Cowboys' decision to give Hardy a second chance at pro football, and the criticism unquestionably bothered Jones.

"But it has never bothered me to the extent that I would not be grateful for my second chances, and I've had nine lives," said Jones. "And, so, you couldn't live the way in my realm of body if I didn't give people second chances.

"We take domestic violence real serious. And we take how to address domestic violence serious."

During the draft, Dallas spent his second-round choice on Gregory, who had failed a drug test for marijuana at the 2015 scouting combine. The first-round talent's stock fell, but Jones was there to take the Big Ten sacks leader in 2015 with the 60th overall pick.

The concern with taking in such project players as Hardy and Gregory could mean damage to the brand. However, Jones feels giving such players a platform to atone for their grievous errors or shortsighted mistakes is the optimal use of the team's brand.

"I personally think that the visibility that the Cowboys have, the kind of interest we have, is best served and best used by showing people that are contrite, know the mistakes they've made, and want to try to go in a different direction."

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