The NFL has reduced the suspension of Dallas Cowboys edge defender Greg Hardy from ten games to four games after Hardy and the NFLPA appealed the initial penalty. Hardy had been suspended for an absolutely egregious account of domestic violence. However, that ten game suspension was founded in absolutely nothing, and thus the in-game penalty was reduced to standards set for domestic violence charges for NFL players.
This is an important point for the status of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his appeal, because now Hardy's penalty for domestic violence is of the exact same length as Brady's suspension for maybe-but-probably-not having anything to do with the Ideal Gas Law. There's no way that Roger Goodell could claim his sanity and uphold Brady's current suspension length.
The specific words used to modify Hardy's penalty is important as well:
Translated: Goodell just kind of made this one up on his own. pic.twitter.com/id2Jd6jVAQ— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) July 10, 2015
With comparison to prior cases, the penalty for Hardy makes no sense. This, of course, is the same issue with Tom Brady and his penalty. The prior penalties for not handing over a phone to a league investigation is $50,000, per Brett Favre's case. Jumping from that penalty to a four-game suspension makes no sense.
While no one should expect Goodell to completely throw out the suspension, it seems more likely than not that Goodell will end up reducing Brady's suspension to one or two games. Hardy's appeal process set the ball in motion for the league to allow a reduced penalty, although no signs point to full vindication.
Coincidentally, Hardy's first game back from suspension will be against the New England Patriots.