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Rivera: Sitting Greg Hardy in Panthers' 'best interest'

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Greg Hardy was inactive for the Carolina Panthers' 24-7 win Sunday over the Detroit Lions.

The defensive end has been embroiled in controversy after being arrested on charges of assault on a female and communicating threats on May 13. Hardy was found guilty by a judge on July 15 and requested a jury trial, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 17.

Hardy played Week 1 as the organization cited allowing the legal process to play out as the reason for not sitting Hardy.

The Panthers had been under pressure after the tumultuous NFL week that saw Ray Rice suspended indefinitely for domestic violence and Adrian Peterson deactivated by the Minnesota Vikings following charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child.

Coach Ron Rivera said on Friday that the team planned to play Hardy vs. the Lions. NFL Media's Albert Breer added on NFL GameDay Morning that as late as Saturday, Hardy's people believed the pass rusher would play.

But on Sunday morning, Rivera decided to make a change for the organization's sake.

"My rationale was because this was in the best interest of the Carolina Panthers," Rivera said after the game. "We had to do this, I did this and that's it."

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport added that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson -- who spoke out against domestic violence earlier in the week -- played a big role in the ultimate decision to deactivate the Pro Bowl player.

"We had discussions. The organization had discussions," Rivera said. ... "This is a very difficult situation that the league is dealing with right now. Teams are dealing with this and we're doing the best that we can. We're not infallible; we make mistakes. The decision I made today was based on all the information that I tried to get, the people that I talked with and going forward."

Declaring Hardy inactive is a complete reversal for a Panthers organization that was under intense scrutiny for allowing the player to suit up for last week's season opener. 

UPDATE: Breer reported Monday that Hardy will report to work today at Bank of America Stadium, per source who has spoken to the player.

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