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NFL Star Greg Hardy Sidelined Over Impending Appeal on Domestic Violence Conviction

Carolina Panthers reverse field and bench the linebacker Sunday as league struggles to put focus back on the field

Even as the NFL sought to put fans’ focus back on the field Sunday, an 11th-hour roster move has left one of its stars, Greg Hardy, sidelined while he appeals a domestic violence conviction.

In deactivating the standout linebacker just two hours before their home opener against the Detroit Lions, the Carolina Panthers reversed their earlier decision to let him play while his case is ongoing.

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The move comes just a week after the National Football League’s handling of a domestic violence case involving three-time Pro Bowler Ray Rice set off a storm of criticism that has led to calls for the league’s commissioner Roger Goodell to step down.

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Team officials made no comment on the roster move involving Hardy, who in July was found guilty by a judge of assault on a female and communicating threats.

Further complicating the league’s efforts to put the attention of the nation back on the games was the arrest Saturday of all-star running back Adrian Peterson. The Minnesota Vikings star deactivated Peterson Friday, when the new first surfaced.