Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy’s domestic violence appeal trial set for Nov. 17 has been postponed until after the NFL season, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday night.
The person said the new trial date has not been set.
The person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced.
The change could signal the end of Hardy’s season — and perhaps his career — with the Panthers.
The NFL and the Panthers have said Hardy would not play until after his trial was resolved, although he is still collecting more than $770,000 per week as Carolina’s franchise player. He will make $13.1 million this year.
Hardy will be an unrestricted free agent after the season and it is high unlikely the team will re-sign him.
The Panthers placed Hardy on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list on Sept. 17 after he was convicted in July of assault on a female and communicating threats.
Chris Fialko, Hardy’s attorney, said after the July 15 conviction that he would appeal the verdict, but said that he didn’t think the case would be heard until at least 2015 because there were several other cases on the court docket.
At that time, that was good news for Hardy since he was allowed to keep playing pending the appeal. He even played in the season opener at Tampa Bay.
However, when the tape of Ray Rice hitting his then-fiance became public, the NFL and its teams were forced to be more proactive when it came to domestic violence.
Hardy was declared inactive for Carolina’s second game of the season and later placed on a paid leave of absence.
After the decision was handed down coach Ron Rivera said he still expected Hardy to be around the team’s facility.
But he hasn’t been back since.
“I believe, from what I’ve been told, he’s been working out and doing the thing he needs to do,” Rivera said in a recent interview. “Hopefully, when things are all worked out and everything comes to a conclusion everybody can go forward.”
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson broke down in tears while accepting an award in Charlotte on Sept. 11 following the fallout from the Hardy conviction.
“When it comes to domestic violence, my stance is not one of indifference,” Richardson said. “I stand firmly against domestic violence, plain and simple. To those that would suggest we have 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 and earn the trust of our community. I work hard to continue to earn the trust, and I thank you for this award.”
Hardy has not spoken to the media since he was placed on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list.
In a statement last month released through the team, Hardy said, “I am entitled to due process and my day in court, and that’s where my focus should be. … My decision to take a leave of absence allows me to focus on my family until the legal process has run its course.”
The trial could determine how much money Hardy commands on the free agent market next season. Hardy led Carolina in 2013 with 15 sacks and was selected to his first Pro Bowl.
Source: The AP