Greg Hardy will start vs. Detroit Lions; or will he?


Sep 7, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive end Greg Hardy will start for the Carolina Panthers Sunday when they face the Detroit Lions, despite being convicted of domestic abuse on July 15.

In a week that saw the NFL become less about football and more about domestic abuse, the Panthers have yet to take any sort of disciplinary action against their franchise player who is awaiting a jury trial that may take until 2015 to get underway.

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  • According to police reports and evidence given by Nicole Holder (Hardy’s ex-girlfriend), on the night of May 13 the defensive end threw her into a bathtub, tossed her onto a futon covered in assault rifles, put his hands around her throat, and threatened to kill her. Holder also said that the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Hardy ripped her necklace off, threw it into the toilet, and then proceeded to slam the lid on her arm when she tried to retrieve it. Hardy claims that it was Holder who hit him and continues to deny the charges.

    Hardy appealed the decision and is scheduled to return to court on November 17. He played in the season opener and is expected to play Sunday, even with rumors circulating that the Panthers may cut him prior to the game.

    Whether Hardy starts vs. the Lions or is cut before the game, the Panthers have drawn heavy scrutiny for the way the organization and team owner Jerry Richardson has handled the case to this point.

    With a media firestorm of controversy surrounding the Ray Rice case and whether the NFL was privy to the infamous video, Richardson attempted to address that situation for the first time publicly during a public appearance and it brought him to tears.

    Via ESPN:

    "“Standing before you tonight, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge an issue weighing heavily on our sport and our society. When it comes to domestic violence, my stance is not one of indifference. I stand firmly against domestic violence, plain and simple.“To those who would suggest that we’ve been too slow to act, I ask that you consider not to be too quick to judge. Over the course of our 20 years, we have worked extremely hard to build an organization of integrity … I will work hard to continue to earn your trust.”"

    Though the speech seemed sincere, many fans have publicly stated that they won’t be happy until Hardy is released, which may force Richardson’s hand come Sunday.

    The Charlotte Observer took it one step further during an editorial on Tuesday, stating that dismissing Rice while letting Hardy continue to play is hypocritical.

    "“[The] reason Hardy still plays while star running back Ray Rice was cut from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended by the NFL indefinitely? Video. There is video of Rice knocking out his girlfriend but no video, so far, of Hardy dragging Holder by the hair and clutching her throat. Is that what it takes to do the right thing?”"

    I myself will be waiting to see what action the Panthers take with Hardy on Sunday. A deactivation from the game vs. the Lions is possible, they could flat-out cut the defensive end, or they could — leave him on the roster.

    Will Richardson follow the voice of public opinion? Stay tuned to Detroit Jock City to find out!

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