The Panthers deactivated Hardy in Week 2 over growing scrutiny surrounding the organization's handling of him after Hardy was convicted in July of assaulting a female and communicating threats in a domestic violence incident.
Hardy played in Week 1, but Rivera said "changes in the climate" led to the deactivation for Week 2.
Ron Rivera on what changed in Greg Hardy situation: “I don’t know if it was new information as much as it was changes in the climate." — Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) September 15, 2014
Rivera: "If you play him and you win, then you don't have a conscience. If you play him and lose, he's a distraction." — Joe Person (@josephperson) September 15, 2014
The NFL has faced criticism about its handling of domestic violence after the release of video showing Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée last Monday. Originally suspended two games for the incident, Rice was subsequently released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after the video emerged.
Rivera said the Panthers haven't considered releasing Hardy but that Carolina's front office has been consulting with the league office about his situation.
Hardy is appealing his conviction and is scheduled to begin a jury trial on Nov. 17. The NFL has said it won't discipline him until the conclusion of his legal process.
The 26-year-old had four tackles and one sack in the Panthers' Week 1 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had 15 sacks last season.
- Ben Estes