Crime & Courts

Carolina Panthers’ Greg Hardy faces assault on female charge

UPDATE: Woman accuses Panthers' Hardy of throwing her on couch 'covered' with guns

Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was arrested Tuesday on misdemeanor charges of assault on a female and communicating threats following an early-morning dispute with a 24-year-old woman at Hardy’s uptown apartment, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police incident report.

Hardy, 25, was booked Tuesday afternoon when he turned himself in to police, according to a police statement. The name of the person who filed the report was not released as of Tuesday.

According to the incident report, police responded to a call around 4:18 a.m. Tuesday at Ivey’s, an upscale condominium building in the 100 block of North Tryon Street. The woman, who told police she and Hardy had been in a relationship since September, said Hardy physically assaulted and threatened her, according to the report.

The report states she suffered minor injuries – bruises and scratches – and she refused treatment. The report says she had been drinking alcohol.

“We are very disappointed to learn of the allegations involving Greg and are concerned for all parties as we continue to investigate,” the Panthers said in a statement.

As the Panthers were preparing to make Hardy one of the team’s highest-paid players this offseason, there were concerns among team officials about Hardy’s off-the-field behavior. Those concerns had followed Hardy since college at Mississippi, but until Tuesday, Hardy’s criminal record included only traffic violations.

Hardy’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said he had no comment when reached by phone Tuesday. Hardy’s attorney, Christopher Fialko, also declined to comment.

Hardy is scheduled to appear Wednesday morning in front of a district court judge, who has the authority to set bond. Hardy was jailed overnight. A sheriff’s office spokeswoman said it’s typical in domestic violence cases for suspects to be denied bond for at least a 24-hour “cooling-off period.”

After Hardy, who is 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds, tied a Carolina franchise record with 15 sacks last season and went to his first Pro Bowl, the Panthers placed the franchise tag on him, a designation under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement that guarantees him a contract worth $13.1 million this season.

The Panthers said in February they would continue to work with Hardy on a long-term deal, although there have been no indications the two sides are close to an agreement.

Carolina agreed recently to give Hardy as much as $1.3 million – 10 percent of his franchise tag contract – if he attends all of the team’s voluntary offseason workouts, which are ongoing.

The Panthers have long been an organization with a heightened concern for their players’ off-the-field issues, and that is no different for Hardy as he negotiates a long-term second contract.

Team owner Jerry Richardson has little tolerance for players who commit crimes against women or children, according to a team source.

Hardy, who transforms into his alter ego “the Kraken” on the field, has had several off-the-field incidents that have troubled the Panthers, though this is his first known arrest.

The Panthers selected Hardy in the sixth round of the 2010 draft after the defensive end, considered an early- to mid-round pick, fell down teams’ draft boards because of character questions. He was suspended for two games at the University of Mississippi after missing team meetings and violating team rules.

Hardy told Sports Illustrated he was kicked off the team but was later reinstated.

Tyrone Nix, former defensive coordinator at Mississippi, told the Observer that Hardy never had any incidents involving violence toward women in college.

“It surprises me,” Nix said of the charges. “I’m sure the truth will come out in the end. And Greg has always been a guy of high character, as far as respect to others.”

In 2011, Hardy was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him with a concussion and severe abrasions and kept him out of most of the Panthers’ preseason activities. The following summer, he tweeted a photo of a Bentley speedometer that appeared to show he was driving more than 100 mph.

He was benched for the start of Carolina’s Week 13 win against Tampa Bay in 2013 after he was late to a team meeting. Hardy was fined by the team and apologized to coach Ron Rivera.

Hardy’s prior criminal record consists of traffic violations. Charges of no operator’s license, a window tinting violation and driving without registration were dismissed in 2011. Hardy was charged with speeding in July 2011, going 86 mph in a 65 mph zone. That charge was lowered to 74 mph and waived by the clerk.

In October 2012, Hardy was charged with going 54 mph in a 35 mph zone. He received a prayer for judgment. A third speeding charge came in November 2013 when he was charged with doing 52 mph in a 35 mph zone. That charge was reduced to 40 mph and the charge was waived in March.

Staff writer Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and staff researcher Maria David contributed.

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