Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Hardy is Guilty, Now What?

Greg Hardy being found guilty has far reaching implications on his life, and how he is viewed publicly.  He has now been found guilty of threatening and assaulting a woman.  While this post focuses on the football ramifications of the resulting fallout, it is important to remember that the crimes Hardy was found guilty of committing are serious and give reason to be concerned about the actions of an athlete that the Panthers invested $13 million dollars in; as well as perpetuating some nasty stereotypes about young athletes, generally.

Regardless of the appeal, he may face a suspension from Commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the League’s personal conduct policy.  The amount of games suspended varies depending on the infraction and the offending party.  Specifically, it will be interesting to see what the commissioner does regarding Ray Rice and his incident with his now-wife in Vegas this past February. So far, Goodell has not adjudicated on the matter.

The amount of games Hardy will miss will be crucial, because another Panthers Defensive End will miss time to start the season – Frank Alexander.  Alexander will be suspended for the first four games of the season following a positive PED test.  And while Alexander doesn’t start and only had one sack last year, the Panthers are a defense powered by the defensive front and quarterback pressure.  General Manager Dave Gettleman came from the NY Giants organization.  That franchise’s ability to win two Super Bowls over a five year span was directly tied to the defensive line’s depth.  The term “NASCAR” came to mean more than cars driving in a circle, it signified the NFL’s version of 40 minutes of hell; a relentless pass rush by fresh, talented pass rushers.

GM Gettleman's moves have been questioned, but his 2nd round selection may have been clairvoyant

GM Gettleman’s moves have been questioned, but his 2nd round selection may have been clairvoyant

With two important cogs gone, it will be crucial for Charles Johnson (the team’s next leading sack artist behind Hardy) to continue his fantastic productivity. Johnson and Hardy have developed a palpable chemistry; the tandem was the only set of teammates to each record 10+ sacks last year.  Moreover, the pair’s 49.5 sacks since the 2012-2013 season is the most of any duo in the NFL.  That particular synergy will most likely be undone, at least early in the year.

While the second round selection of Kony Ealy seemed odd given the holes at Wide Receiver and Left Tackle, it now looks like a solid move given the assumed impending suspension.  Additionally, Hardy’s recent legal troubles could mean that the player that accrued the 3rd most sacks in the NFL last season, may be departing from Charlotte at the end of the season.

Simply put, the Hardy arrest and conviction have far-reaching football implications; both immediately and in the future.  For fans of the Carolina Panthers, the offseason following the division championship has been fraught with missed opportunities and peculiar missteps.  If the franchise can still experience success (read: playoff appearance) given the circumstances, fans will know that they are rooting for an organization that can survive foibles and thrive in spite of them.

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Tags: Carolina Panthers Greg Hardy

  • John Quintero

    While I am a die-hard Panthers fan and I know Greg Hardy is a huge key to our defense’s success, he should be punished by the league. How many kids could have grown to see him as their favorite player and look up to him as a role model? When you are in the public eye as much as professional athletes are, you should be held to a higher standard than most simply because they can have a major impact on the youth of our country. The crime was heinous and the punishment should fit accordingly. It should be made know to him and to other players around the league that doing whatever you feel like doing has ramifications.

    • W.B. Whitted

      Thanks for reading. I agree wholeheartedly, domestic violence is a consistent problem in the NFL. Do you think the violence of their job has anything to do with the epidemic?

    • Tim

      I agree he should be punished by the league but only because that’s what he deserves and it’s the politics of the game. To say ppl who are in the in the public eye should be punished differently suggest they are less human than we are. They deserve the same fairness each one of us should also recieve if faced with charges. Famous or not they are just ppl and should be treated as such and not subjected to be made an example of just because of there status. Just my opinion. .