Panthers deactivate DE Greg Hardy vs. Lions

Greg Hardy won't play Sunday vs. the Lions. (USATSI)
Greg Hardy won't play Sunday vs. the Lions. (USATSI)

Hours after coach Ron Rivera told ESPN he was comfortable with Greg Hardy playing Sunday against the Lions, the Panthers have now decided to deactivate the pass-rushing defensive end.

Hardy, who awaits a jury trial on domestic violence charges, has been the subject of much controversy this week, especially in light of the league's other domestic-violence cases involving Ray Rice, Ray McDonald and Adrian Peterson.

As of now, the team had no official statement as to why he was deactivated. 

On Wednesday, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson issued a tearful statement on his firm stance against domestic violence.

"And when it comes to domestic violence, my stance is not one of indifference. I stand firmly against domestic violence, plain and simple," Richardson said.

"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..."

Given Richardson's position, there were questions why the team even considered playing Hardy at all. The Panthers rectified those concerns Sunday morning.

Still, the league -- and Richardson -- remain fully behind embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has faced calls from fans and media to step down in the wake of one of the worst weeks in NFL history.

According to ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio, Richardson has been recruiting other owners to sign a joint letter of support for the commissioner. "Other owners may also be involved in making calls and twisting arms to apply John Hancocks to a document that presumably would make clear to the world that the owners won't be hiring a new captain for their 300-foot, gold-plated, money-printing yacht that but for this scandal would be sailing in mostly clear, open water," Florio wrote Sunday morning.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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