Ronald Martinez/Getty

Photos released last week showed the injuries Greg Hardy's ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder suffered during an assault by the football player

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November 09, 2015 12:35 PM

The release of graphic photos of the injuries NFL star Greg Hardy allegedly inflicted on his ex-girlfriend in 2014 has caused a massive uproar. But the Dallas Cowboys player still took the field on Sunday.

Hardy was arrested and charged with attacking Nicole Holder in May 2014, and convicted of assault in a bench trial, but the charges were dismissed on appeal when Holder failed to appear at the jury trial. Last week, the charges were expunged, according to Sports Illustrated. Shortly after, Deadspin released images of Holder from the police and prosecutorial records showing the graphic extent of her injuries.

Hardy claimed in court that Holder’s wounds were self-inflicted, and it is believed the pair reached a civil settlement outside of court, ESPN.com reported.

While Friday marked the first time the images had been seen largely by the public, the NFL had long had access to the photos, according to Deadspin. The Cowboys, however, did not apparently see the photos before signing Hardy, according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post.

Regardless, Hardy played for the Cowboys – a team that signed him after the Carolina Panthers released him following his initial assault conviction – against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday. The Eagles took home a win, with several Eagles players publicly calling out his alleged actions, according to Philly.com.

“There are three [types] of people I have zero respect for in this world,” the Eagles’ Jason Kelce told Philly.com. “It’s people who hit women, people who molest children, and rapists. I’m glad he didn’t have a good day and … I don’t know. I think it’s a joke a guy like that is able to play this quickly.”

Hardy, a defensive end, has refused to speak to the media about the images, reported Sports Illustrated. But he tweeted on Saturday, “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 Hardy
Brandon Wade/AP

The public outrage at the photos hasn’t kept Cowboys owner Jerry Jones from removing Hardy from the team – in fact, he stands by him.

“While we did not have access to the photos that became public today, we were and are aware of the serious nature of this incident. We as an organization take this very seriously. We do not condone domestic violence. We entered into the agreement with Greg fully understanding that there would be scrutiny and criticism,” Jones said in a statement on Friday.

“We have given Greg a second chance. He is a member of our team and someone who is grateful for the opportunity he has been given to move forward with his life and his career.”

Numerous figures in both the professional sports world and beyond were quick to voice their opinion regarding Hardy’s continued career in the NFL on social media.

“The number of men on Twitter defending Greg Hardy, Cowboys; and/or ripping abused girlfriend is horrifying,” said sports writer Jeff Pearlman.

“If the #Cowboys were not aware of the evidence against Greg Hardy, it was because they chose not to know. Jerry Jones knew what he was doing,” wrote ESPN reporter Ed Werder.

ESPN reporter Wendi Nix called on Cowboys sponsors to let their “dollars vote” to put pressure on the team in a segment of Sunday NFL Countdown.

“Did you need to see a picture of a dead body to know what happened when Aaron Hernandez fired a bullet?” she said. “I didn’t.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to publicly respond to the photos.

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