A year off WITH pay is NOT really a punishment.
They told him to either go on the Commissioners List with pay.....or be suspended. Hardy chose the CL.
But it seems that your argument is that since it wasn't the harshest penalty they could have evoked, it wasn't punishment at all. He had a choice of two punishments, and he chose the lesser of the two. That doesn't mean it isn't punishment
That is nonsense