It’s time for our Weekly Mailbag! Remember that if you’d like your question answered, tweet it to us @Cover32_CAR or ask it in the comments section. Now for this week’s question.
So Greg Hardy was found guilty but isn’t going to jail. What does this mean for him on the field in 2014 for the Carolina Panthers though?
-Bill in Roanoke, VA
For those who didn’t see, Hardy was given a 60-day suspended sentence and 18 months of probation, which means that he won’t serve any jail time as long as he doesn’t screw up for the next year and half. Considering some of the charges he was facing in the wake of allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, that doesn’t seem like too bad of a ruling but Hardy will be taking it to a jury trial, which is allowed in North Carolina if a judge convicts you.
As a result, the matter isn’t officially resolved which could be key in determining what punishment Hardy may face. As Mike Florio points out, the NFL doesn’t usually dole out punishments to first-time offenders “until there has been a disposition of the proceeding.” However, Ben Roethlisberger was never arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime and that didn’t stop Roger Goodell from suspending him for the first four games of the 2010 (a sentence that was actually reduced from six games).
No matter how you slice it, it’s hard to imagine Goodell won’t impose any penalties since domestic assault just isn’t a good look for the league. If I had to guess, Hardy will be suspended between two and four games to start the season.
Good thing the Panthers drafted Kony Ealy, right?