Panthers Abruptly Bench Star in Domestic Violence Case
Greg Hardy deactivated this morning, was convicted in July
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2014 10:31 AM CDT
In this 2013 file photo, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) sits on the bench. The Panthers deactivated Hardy, who is appealing a domestic violence conviction, for today's game.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

(Newser) – Greg Hardy is the Carolina Panthers' franchise player, a Pro Bowl defensive end who will make $13.1 million this season. He will also sit out today's home opener after the Panthers abruptly reversed course and deactivated him this morning, reports ESPN. The reason? Hardy was convicted in July of assaulting and threatening the life of an ex-girlfriend; he's currently appealing that conviction, and is likely to return to court in November. Both the NFL and the Panthers had opted not to punish Hardy while he appealed, notes TMZ, a decision that was reinforced by the Panthers' head coach as recently as Friday, when he confirmed that Hardy would start today. "We are in a process and we're letting the process play its way out," Ron Rivera said Friday. Hardy's deactivation occurs after the Ravens released Ray Rice and the Vikings deactivated Adrian Peterson.