Carolina Panthers fans were divided Sunday after the team deactivated defensive end Greg Hardy for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.
Hardy was convicted in July of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her. He has appealed for a jury trial and played last week against Tampa Bay.
On Friday afternoon, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Hardy would start in Sunday’s game. But on Sunday, the team changed course.
Some fans were critical of the team for what they described as giving in to public pressure in connection with the Ray Rice scandal. Others applauded the team’s decision, saying that domestic violence should never be tolerated. Some even advocated kicking Hardy out of the league entirely.
“Everyone’s too quick to jump on the bandwagon. Every situation is different. … Don’t just make a rash decision. These are people’s livelihoods.”
Princess Harper, whose son, Roman, plays safety on the team.
“Given everything going on with Ray Rice, the Panthers didn’t have much of a choice.”
Amanda Fisher of Fort Mill, S.C.
“I think it was a great decision for public relations, but as far as the fans, I really wanted that guy playing. … I think he needs help more than anything. People can change. People make mistakes. But they deserve a second chance.”
Bronsyn Stewart of Charlotte
“We don’t know the facts. You can’t make an opinion, you can’t make a judgment until you know the facts. … I guess they’re trying to follow the same standards.”
Peggy Childress of Rock Hill
“I think they probably did a good thing deactivating him in light of all of the other controversy in the league.”
Nate Ryan of Mooresville
“When you’re a professional athlete, you’re not just a normal person anymore. Kids look up to you.”
Kelli Putnam of Charlotte
“I think the news media kind of opened everyone’s eyes. Domestic violence shouldn’t be tolerated. Period.”
Rick Magliocca of Charlotte
“There’s never a reason to hit a woman. I think we should get rid of him altogether.”
Rob Church of Apex