Charles Barkley doesn't know Greg Hardy, isn't sure if he would like him, and certainly doesn't condone the NFL player's history of domestic violence. But as many call for Hardy to be punished by the NFL, if not released outright by the Dallas Cowboys, Barkley has a different perspective.
Hardy doesn't need more punishment. He needs help.
In a thoughtful column penned for Bleacher Report, Barkley doesn't dismiss the gravity of what Hardy has done, but he wants the conversation surrounding the embattled star to take a more rehabilitative tone.
"Domestic violence is 100 percent wrong," Barkley writes. "In this case, Hardy went through the judicial system. We need to find a way to stop giving up on black men. We need to get Hardy psychological help."
Barkley goes on to detail the graphic nature of Hardy's domestic abuses as detailed by his former girlfriend, and he even takes time to note how painfully common domestic abuse is in our society. He also points out that Hardy has already gotten away with a lot just by virtue of being a professional football player.
"But I also believe Greg Hardy needs a chance to get better -- not as a football player; as a human being. He needs psychological help so he can be a better man," Barkley writes. "I hope Greg Hardy doesn't let me down, but more importantly, I hope he doesn't let himself down. He needs to be willing to admit the problem and be accepting of treatment."
Barkley also argues that kicking him out of the NFL doesn't do service to anyone. It's a vindictive move, but one that only positions Hardy to commit more crimes in the future. The alternative, Barkley says, is taking action now to change the course of his life.
"I believe we can't just discard people when they screw up," Barkley writes. "If Greg Hardy screws up again, I'll help him pack his ass out of Dallas, and he should never play another game the NFL if he ever puts his hands on a woman again.
"But before that can happen, shouldn't we get him some help, instead of kicking him out of the NFL? Shouldn't we do everything possible to prevent it from happening again? "
Barkley isn't afraid to voice an unpopular opinion, but in this case, his essay is full of worthwhile points to consider.