The Panthers may have avoided ever making a decision on Greg Hardy. But now, the court docket may force them and the league to address a pending matter of some recent attention.
According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Hardy’s jury trial on domestic violence charges has been scheduled for Nov. 17, during their bye week.
When a judge convicted Hardy of two charges in July, it was believed his appeal wouldn’t be heard until January, likely after the end of the current season.
Hardy’s attorney still thinks the trial could be pushed back until 2015.
“I believe the state will try other, much older cases at the November date, and we will be assigned a jury trial date in 2015 once that master court calendar is published,” attorney Chris Fialko said. “I do not think this district attorney will leapfrog Mr. Hardy’s case over the many other older ones where defendants and accusers have been patiently waiting for trial.”
The Panthers have deferred any potential punishment for Hardy to the NFL, and the NFL will wait until after his jury trial. Ostensibly, that could put him in line to be punished during the current season (which might mean as much as two whole games).
Hardy’s playing under the one-year, $13.1 million franchise tag, and the Panthers made no effort to extend him prior to the deadline to reach a long-term deal. The timing of his trial will also come into play for his next team, whether the Panthers try to keep him or not.
That jury trial could also be even more lurid than the first one.
Hardy was accused of attacking his former girlfriend and throwing her onto a futon full of guns after an early morning altercation. The trouble between the two stemmed from her affair with the rapper Nelly, a part owner of the Charlotte Hornets. The victim admitted using cocaine the night of the attack, which sets up questions of credibility.
Mix in a potential giant pay-day for an NFL free agent who had 15.0 sacks last year, and it might get even more lewd, lascivious, salacious and outrageous than the first trial.