The decision came following a two-month investigation by the league into Hardy's domestic violence incident last year involving ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder. The league found sufficient credible evidence that Hardy engaged in conduct that violated NFL policies. Hardy's legal case in North Carolina state court was dismissed in February.
"The NFL's investigation concluded that Hardy violated the Personal Conduct Policy by using physical force against Nicole Holder in at least four instances," the statement read.
"The net effect of these acts was that Ms. Holder was severely traumatized and sustained a range of injuries, including bruises and scratches on her neck, shoulders, upper chest, back, arms and feet," Commissioner Goodell wrote in his decision. "The use of physical force under the circumstances present here, against a woman substantially smaller than you and in the presence of powerful, military-style assault weapons, constitutes a significant act of violence in violation of the Personal Conduct Policy."
The NFL was unsuccessful in "numerous efforts" to contact Holder and noted it was unknown if Holder's lack of availability was "the result of her entering into a civil settlement with Hardy or other factors."
Rapoport reported that the Cowboys had braced for a six-game suspension at most, and had expected a four-game ban. But they did build protection into Hardy's contract. He was due $9.25 million in per-game roster bonuses, and now he'll be able to earn less than half of that. If the 10-game suspension is upheld, Hardy will have missed 25 regular-season games over two seasons before he returns to the field.
"This suspension is something that we anticipated prior to Greg's signing, and we respect the Commissioner's ruling. Our organization understands the very serious nature of this matter. We will use our resources -- work closely with Greg and with the league -- to ensure a positive outcome."