NFL teams are cracking down on players involved in domestic violence incidents.
After the Baltimore Ravens cut Ray Rice last week, the Carolina Panthers placed defensive end Greg Hardy on the inactive list for their home opener against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Hardy was found guilty in July of assaulting and threatening his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder.
Originally, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he planned to let Hardy play while he appeals the conviction. Rivera even let Hardy play in the Panthers’ first game of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the coach had a change of heart this past Sunday, pulling him from the Week 2 game.
"I know y'all are wondering [about Greg Hardy]," Rivera told ESPN after the Panthers scored a 24-7 win over the Lions. "I made the decision this morning. It was my decision because it was in the best interest of the Carolina Panthers."
Rivera said that Hardy will return to the lineup, but didn’t mention when.
Meanwhile, one of his players, center Ryan Kalil, told ESPN that the league's teams shouldn't put every domestic-violence offender in one group, instead letting each accused individual have the right to his own legal case.
"Everybody has strong opinions about the topic at hand," Kalil said. "I know I feel very strongly about it. At the same time, however you feel about the situation or the individuals, it's a mistake to start grouping them all into one big group. So everybody has the right to their each individual case, and I think that's what's happening here. For us, the biggest thing is not to get caught up in all the sensationalism and really let the facts play out before we start passing judgment and having opinions about it publicly.”
Even without Hardy, the Carolina defense was strong enough to limit Detroit’s high-powered offense to just seven points. The Panthers will host the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday night, September 21.
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(Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)