Less than a week after making a serious impact in the NFL draft the Carolina Panthers are dealing with off-the-field issues related to their star defensive end, the player they just gave the $13.1 million franchise tag to less than three months ago.
Greg Hardy was released on $15,000 bond for assault and $2,000 bond for threats today after being arrested on domestic assault charges early Tuesday morning. The Pro-Bowl defensive end led the team in sacks last season and was franchise tagged in late February after a long-term deal could not be struck.
Mecklenburg County District Judge Rebecca Thorne Tin also ordered Hardy to stay away from the woman involved in the complaint, and ordered Hardy to attend three AA classes per week after both parties were found intoxicated at the time of the incident, which occurred around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Records show that Hardy, despite being jailed on the alleged assault and threats charges, was the individual who called 9-1-1; both parties claim the other was the aggressor. The woman, identified in other media reports but unidentified here due to its irrelevancy, described being choked, dragged through Hardy’s residence, and thrown around violently, including atop a coach covered with over 25 shotguns and assault rifles. It’s unclear whether Hardy was charged with any gun violations, despite them being described in the police report.
The Carolina Panthers issued a statement Tuesday that said: “We are very disappointed to learn of the allegations involving Greg and are concerned for all parties as we continue to investigate.” The team has made no further statement.
The 6’ 4” 290-pound defensive end from Ole Miss has been a member of the Carolina Panthers since being drafted by them with the 175th pick in the 2010 draft (6th round). Hardy had a break out season in 2013 setting the Panthers single-season record with 15 sacks, which also ranked third in the NFL. Hardy was selected to his first Pro-Bowl and was voted Second Team All-Pro.
Hardy fell down the draft board in 2010 because of reported behavioral issues at Ole Miss, and the Panthers have been concerned with Hardy’s behavior at times during his tenure with the team, although this is his first arrest. Such incidents hadn’t stopped the Panthers from trying to negotiate a long-term deal up until now, but it’s unclear what will happen following this arrest.
The Panthers have concern for their players’ off-the-field issues, and team owner Jerry Richardson has little tolerance for players who commit crimes against women or children, according to a team source.
According to the NFL Bylaws and Constitution, Article VIII Sections 8.1-8.5, if the commissioner decides that an employee of the NFL has either violated the League constitution and bylaws or has been or is guilty of “conduct detrimental to the welfare” of the NFL or professional football, specifically including domestic assault, he has complete disciplinary authority over the matter. Punishment may include suspension and fines not in excess of $500,000, and cancellation of any contract or agreement a player may have with the NFL.
Hardy’s next court appearance is set for June 27th.
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