The new jury trial for Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy has been scheduled for November 17, 2014. Hardy originally had a judge trial for attacking and threatening Nicole Holder that ended with a guilty verdict back on July 15. Hardy appealed to have a jury trial, which has been granted.
Hardy’s attorney Chris Fialko told ESPN that he does not expect the trial to actually be on November 17. This is because there is always a backlog of court cases in the system and Fialko believes that other cases will take precedence over Hardy’s. Fialko believes that the case will not be heard until 2015.
Hardy has been at training camp since camp started, and the Panthers have resolved to hold off discipline until the legal process has worked itself out. This is fair, as any steps the Panthers might take could influence a jury.
The NFL and Roger Goodell are usually seen as proactive in these cases, but they are also waiting for the legal process to work. They were similarly inactive about Ray Rice until after his deal to do an intervention program was reached.
So it appears that Hardy will be available for the beginning of the 2014 season. The new issue for the Panthers becomes how much of the season will he play? If the first court date of November 17 comes off, then Hardy could be plucked in the middle of the season. Any punishment the League inflicted would start immediately. It might be harder for a Panthers team with ambition to lose Hardy in the middle of the year than to have started without him.
A 2015 court date brings other problems. In this case Hardy will play the entire regular season, but his availability for a potential playoff run would be brought into question. Though it is possible that his court date would occur after the Super Bowl, it seems like a long time from November 17 to February.
The Hardy situation isn’t decided yet, not by a long shot.
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