Carolina Panthers’ Greg Hardy on exempt list as he appeals conviction

Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy has been de-activated by the team as he appeals an assault conviction.
(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)

Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy has taken a voluntary leave of absence and will be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list while he appeals an assault conviction stemming from an attack on his ex-girlfriend in March.

The Panthers announced the move on their official Twitter account Wednesday.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who was indicted on child abuse charges in Texas last week, was also placed on the exempt list early Wednesday after the team lost a slew of endorsements when they decided to allow him to rejoin the team.

“Greg is hurt. It is a tough situation. He knows he put himself in it,” Panthers Coach Ron Rivera said.


Hardy was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend by a North Carolina judge in July, but has filed an appeal to seek a jury trial. A trial date is set for Nov. 17.

“We’re worried about the wrong things ... trying to find out who to blame. I hope people understand we’re trying to get this right,” Rivera said.

Hardy played in the team’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but was deactivated for last Sunday’s contest against the Detroit Lions as the NFL faces a growing backlash over its handling of domestic violence complaints and other criminal allegations against its players.

On the exempt list Hardy will still be paid but may not participate in practice.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was initially suspended for two games after he was accused of striking his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City, N.J., casino elevator in February, drawing outrage from those who believed his punishment was too light compared with the lengthy drug suspensions handed out by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office.

Rice was later suspended indefinitely and cut by the Ravens after TMZ posted surveillance video showing him knocking Palmer unconcious with a vicious right hook. Rice and Palmer were married in March.

Peterson was also deactivated for one game by the Vikings after news broke that he’d been charged with striking his son with a tree branch, causing the boy to suffer cuts and bruises. The Vikings moved to reactivate him this week, but after a wave of corporate and public backlash, the team left him in the same position as Hardy.


The San Francisco 49ers have also come under fire in recent weeks after defensive end Ray McDonald was allowed to play despite a pending investigation into a domestic violence allegation. McDonald has not been charged.

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