The spectacle surrounding Greg Hardy’s domestic violence arrest mushroomed Wednesday, with his girlfriend claiming in court records that the Carolina Panthers star defensive end threw her on a couch covered in firearms and threatened to shoot her if she told anyone about their fight.
Wednesday afternoon, Panthers fans and a national audience began listening to a series of 911 tapes connected to the case. In one, a heavily breathing Hardy describes girlfriend Nicole Holder as out of control, intoxicated and trying to attack him with the heel of her shoe.
“Like, yo, she’s out of it, my man,” Hardy tells the 911 operator. “And she will not stop coming at me, bro.”
In another call, apparently made from the security desk of Hardy’s building, a woman who claims to have attended the gathering in the player’s condo yells that a woman had been beaten there for more than 30 minutes.
“We need the police here now before this girl gets seriously hurt. Now!” she said.
Wednesday morning in a Mecklenburg County courtroom, District Court Judge Becky Thorne Tin said Holder’s injuries and the nature of the allegations against Hardy “raise concerns” about Holder’s safety.
The Pro Bowl lineman was arrested Tuesday on misdemeanor charges of assaulting a female and communicating threats. He was released on $17,000 bond.
Hardy, 25, trading in his orange inmate jumpsuit for sunglasses, a black tank top and Panther sweatpants, did not talk to reporters waiting outside the jail. His attorney, Chris Fialko of Charlotte, says the charges against his client are unfounded.
A league source said the Panthers, who are scheduled to pay Hardy $13.1 million for the coming season, met with the player and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, on Wednesday to discuss the arrest. Rosenhaus, who attended Hardy’s court hearing, declined comment as he left the courthouse.
Earlier that day, while Hardy was still in jail, his team dealt with the irony of hosting a domestic violence awareness rally in the very stadium in which Hardy has starred.
Arrest warrants accuse the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Hardy of throwing the 24-year-old Holder to the floor and into a bathtub, slamming her against a futon and “strangling” her during an argument at his home.
Hardy also said he would kill her, the warrant stated, a threat “made in a manner and under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that the threat was likely to be carried out.”
Fialko, however, told Tin that Holder attacked Hardy and his friend and assistant, Sammy Curtis, and that his client called 911 when Holder refused to leave his home.
He said that after the fight, Holder called Curtis more than a dozen times Tuesday trying to reach the player.
The dueling versions of events don’t explain what ignited the predawn confrontation.
Details of alleged fight
But in a complaint accompanying her request for a restraining order against Hardy, Holder added compelling details to her version of the fight. They include allegations that an enraged Hardy choked her with both hands and threatened to kill her.
At one point during their struggle, she said in her complaint that Hardy picked her up and threw her into a tub, then dragged her across the floor by her hair. As Hardy screamed threats, Holder said he lifted her over his head and threw her on a couch “covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns.”
Holder said Hardy threatened to shoot her if “I went to the media or reported his assaults to anyone,” according to her complaint.
When police arrived, Holder said she met them while crawling to the elevator.
Both parties intoxicated
Alcohol may have been a factor in the fight, which broke out during an early morning “after party” at Hardy’s uptown residence.
Tin noted that both Hardy and Holder were intoxicated when police arrived.
An Instagram post by Curtis appears to show that Hardy spent part of Monday night at Bubble, a champagne lounge and nightclub in the EpiCentre, the uptown complex where Holder works as a waitress. The club is about two blocks from Hardy’s residence.
In February 2013, Holder was convicted of DWI. Her license was suspended and she was fined $100 plus court costs, and ordered to serve 20 hours’ community service.
During Hardy’s bond hearing, Judge Tin ordered the NFL player to attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week until his next court date on June 27.
She then warned Hardy not to have any contact with Holder, even if she called.
“Do you understand?” the judge asked Hardy, who stood with his hands clasped behind him.
“Yes, ma’am,” he responded quietly.
Holder did not attend the hearing, but she appeared in the corridor outside the courtroom afterward with a woman later identified as a sister. She was wearing a dress, large sunglasses and had her arm in a sling. Her attorney, Stephen Goodwin of Matthews, said Holder was “torn up” about the incident and was in no condition to talk.
He said Holder had been injured “head to toe” and had gone to the emergency room afterward.
“My client was not the aggressor by a long shot,” Goodwin said after the hearing.
Even before his first known arrest, Hardy’s off-the-field behavior already has troubled the Panthers, who are in the midst of deciding whether to offer the player tens of millions of dollars over a multiyear contract.
Carolina selected him in the 2010 draft after Hardy fell down other teams’ draft boards because of questions about his character.
Charlotte Observer staff researcher Maria David contributed.