Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy is set to appear in court on July 15 to stand trial for domestic violence charges stemming from his May 13 arrest, which complicates the team's plans for the offseason.
The date marks not only Hardy's trial but the deadline for teams to sign players to long-term deals if they have received the franchise tag. With the case pending it's highly unlikely the Panthers will exercise this option to lock him up, making it likely he'll play on the one-year deal before revisiting the situation at the end of the 2014 season.
Charlotte's district attorney's office has issued a subpoena for Hardy's accuser, Nicole Holder to appear in court -- but as the Charlotte Observe points out there are no guarantees this will happen. Holder missed a prior appearance during the protective order hearing and it's not wholly uncommon for domestic violence accusers to miss their court appearance. Sometimes this is due to fear of confronting their attacker, occasionally it's a result of deciding not to pursue charges. If Holder does not appear it becomes near-impossible for the district attorney's office to obtain a conviction.
Hardy ends radio interview
The Kraken was happy-go-lucky when talk of the franchise tag emerged in the off-season, but it now appears his tone has changed. Hardy conducted an interview with WFNZ on Tuesday afternoon and abruptly ended the conversation when a question about the franchise tag arose.
It was a fairly innocuous question about whether the franchise tag would weigh on his mind during the season and without notice it sounded like Hardy hung up the phone. Producers attempted to reach him to resume the interview, but this did not occur.
There's a chance it was a coincidence or a bad phone connection, but the timing seems awfully curious. The question did not broach the legal situation Hardy finds himself in, nor did it reference any discussion that shouldn't take place -- but it seems he was ready for it to end.
This has been the a difficult offseason for the Panthers defensive end. Hopefully the legal proceedings and contract talk can be put behind him before training camp, but if the issue is ongoing there's only so long there questions can be dodged.