Greg Hardy can’t stay out of the news, and for the Dallas Cowboys defensive end, it’s for all the wrong reasons. He was convicted during a bench trial last year of assaulting his then-girlfriend in North Carolina, leading to a 10-game NFL suspension that was eventually reduced to four games. Last week, Deadspin released dozens of photos of the aftermath of the alleged assault. (His conviction was overturned on appeal and eventually expunged from the record.)
On top of that, Hardy recently released a misogynistic rap video, made weird comments about Tom Brady‘s wife, and slapped the clipboard out of the hands of a Cowboys coach before nearly getting into a physical altercation with him on the sidelines during a game.
And the Hardy news didn’t get any less vitriolic this week when he changed his Twitter bio to read “innocent until proven guilty,” and Deadspin released transcripts from a closed-door NFL meeting in which Hardy lays the blame of his physical altercation with his ex-girlfriend solely on her.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett talked to Hardy about re-tweaking his bio—at this point, this is about the only part of Hardy the Cowboys can and/or have the desire to control—but a few different words don’t change Hardy’s presence on the social-media site.
Hardy is an NFL defensive star, in part because he’s strong and fearless on the field. But what makes him exceptional at football doesn’t make him a good Twitter follow (or, you know, a good guy in general). But we’re willing to do our own research, and we took a deep dive into Hardy’s Twitter habits to see how he handles himself online—and if we could learn something about him in the process.
Of course, sometimes he tells us exactly who he might be.
1) He appears to think of himself as some kind of superhero cartoon character, and he retweets everybody else who does as well.
His Twitter handle is @OverlordKraken, and the Kraken is the self-appointed nickname he’s given to his on-field persona—an NFL version of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. In an interview with KESN in March, former Carolina Panthers teammate Ben Hartsock said, “before the whole domestic violence thing came down on him, he was more of just kind of viewed as kind of a cartoon figure in our locker room… He refers to himself as the Kraken. I asked him one day about it… is this your character? How did this Kraken character come to be? He said some guy on Twitter gave him the nickname and he liked it, so he ran with it. It’s become one of these things where he’s almost losing touch with who Greg Hardy is at times. And the Kraken has taken over a little bit.”
And man oh man, the Kraken likes to use that RT button.
At one point, Hardy even said goodbye on Twitter, perhaps so he could feel the love of his fans who never want to let him go.
Goodbye 4ever— Greg “The Prince of War” Hardy (@GregHardyJr) May 4, 2015
The retirement from Twitter, by the way, lasted 12 days before he started retweeting again and painting himself as a superhero.
2) He keeps up his role as Mr. Hyde—a Mr. Hyde, mind you, who will apologize when he perceives he’s in trouble and guide you through this technological world.
These kinds of tweets, though, are rare.
Just had to say I express my regret 4 what happened in past and I'm Dedicated to being the best person & teammate that I can be— Greg “The Prince of War” Hardy (@GregHardyJr) November 8, 2015
but mostly I am Grateful 4 the opportunity to play in NFL #GodBlessHookyStreet— Greg “The Prince of War” Hardy (@GregHardyJr) November 8, 2015
#FAVOR Sucks use a diff app everyone they take ur money even when the lazy delivery people don't get you your food— Greg “The Prince of War” Hardy (@GregHardyJr) September 18, 2015
Ill say this I apologize 4a comment that mentioned an event where no reference 2humor is ever ok but I hope my real fans know I would never— Greg “The Prince of War” Hardy (@GregHardyJr) May 2, 2015
That last tweet referenced that Twin Towers joke from above.
3) Some of his vaguer tweets hint that he maybe perceives himself as a wise man.
But upon closer look, you have to ask yourself—is he really just subtweeting somebody else?
Sum people say it's a privilege to play in the NFL and I don't understand…. My answer….— Greg “The Prince of War” Hardy (@GregHardyJr) April 28, 2015
R U Not Entertained.. It's a priv. To b on my page and u will get blocked chump ole jabronis I respect MY Job and everyone else page try it— Greg “The Prince of War” Hardy (@GregHardyJr) April 28, 2015
People in your life wont always love you back the same but you don't love some one because u get something back lol that's a transaction— Greg “The Prince of War” Hardy (@GregHardyJr) August 3, 2015
Points R always to be made the key &intelligence liesN finding the sense & point in conversation not to speak louder of what u already know— Greg “The Prince of War” Hardy (@GregHardyJr) February 24, 2015
4) IT’S THE MEDIA’S FAULT
(At least that’s assuming his RTs = endorsements.)
All this media is trying to do is get in @OverlordKraken head its not gonna work because he is the best of the best— Michael Tulickas (@MTulickas27) November 11, 2015
So, what have we learned here? Well, for one, we know that if fans think a star player can help their team win games, they’re going to support that player and dress up their kids as such, no matter the charges against him. And that might just play into Hardy’s persecution complex.
Which contrasts with something his former girlfriend told police after the alleged assault: “His pupils were tiny,” she said. “I mean, he looked crazy… His face, it was just blank… I’ve never seen him look at me like that.”
But the strangest part of this whole experiment might be the sense that Hardy thinks and is quite willing to reveal that he’s the real victim. Which might mean that the Kracken is flatly disinterested in changing his ways.
And they tripped about my legally owned gunes being n my place lmao…. And b4 u say anything sukaz… https://t.co/TK9VmHt3xY— Greg “The Prince of War” Hardy (@GregHardyJr) May 1, 2015