Rivera: I made the decision to deactivate Greg Hardy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera decided to bench defensive end Greg Hardy before their game against Detroit.

Rivera defended his late decision to make Hardy inactive by saying the "climate has changed" in the NFL and the team "has to get this right."

Hardy was convicted in July of assault on a female and communicating threats, a ruling that he's appealing.

Rivera said he wouldn't rule out Hardy playing this season but refused to put a timetable on that decision.