The Carolina Panthers have deactivated defensive end Greg Hardy, who's awaiting trial on domestic violence charges.
The Panthers made the announcement on Twitter pretty inconspicuously, at first simply including Hardy among the list of inactives for their game Sunday against the Detroit Lions, before posting a separate tweet.
This comes during a time of high public scrutiny for the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, over the league's handling of domestic violence incidents involving Ray Rice and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. (Video via CBS)
Nevertheless, the decision not to play Hardy did come as a surprise, despite the external pressures on the team.
DAVID NEWTON, VIA ESPN: "Because on Friday, Ron Rivera, the head coach said that he was going to start on Sunday, that everything looked good in practice, that they were just going to stay with their plan to let the legal process play out and that's the only thing they could do."
That ESPN reporter pointed to the Minnesota Vikings' decision to deactivate Adrian Peterson, on Friday, as a possible reason the Panthers felt the need to act.
Peterson turned himself in to authorities Saturday, after being indicted on a charge of "reckless or negligent injury to a child," before posting the $15,000 bail. (Video via Fox Sports)
Although Hardy was deactivated Sunday, ESPN's Adam Schefter pointed out he'll still be receiving his weekly paycheck of more than $770,000.
The Carolina Panthers have not announced whether Hardy will face further actions from the team after his deactivation.
This story includes images from Getty Images.