The Panthers have benched Greg Hardy for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions with the defensive end involved in an ongoing domestic violence case.
Carolina listed Hardy as inactive just two days after Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the Pro Bowler would play.
Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats. He is appealing the ruling. He was active against Tampa Bay in Week 1.
U.S. & World
Wes Horton started in Hardy's spot.
Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton confirmed to The Associated Press the decision is not injury related. He said the team will not have a statement on the decision, but it will be addressed after the game by Rivera.
That news comes just two days after Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the Pro Bowler would play.
Carolina's sitting of Hardy comes in the wake of personal conduct incidents involving Baltimore's Ray Rice and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson.
It's unclear if the decision by the Vikings to deactivate Peterson for today's game against New England played a role in Carolina's decision to declare Hardy inactive.
Rivera said after Friday's practice that Hardy would start against the Lions, adding that: "We are in a process, as we've said, and we are letting the process play out. ... We're not trying to do anything below board, we are trying to go through the process as we understand it. We are going to do the best we can."
Earlier this week Panthers owner Jerry Richardson broke down in tears when talking about domestic violence after receiving the Award Against Indifference from the Echo Foundation, a nonprofit education organization.
"I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge an issue weighing heavily on our sport and our society," Richardson said Wednesday night in Charlotte. "When it comes to domestic violence, my stance is not one of indifference. I stand firmly against domestic violence, plain and simple. To those who would suggest that we've been too slow to act, I ask that you consider not to be too quick to judge. Over the course of our 20 years, we have worked extremely hard to build an organization of integrity."
Hardy was unavailable for interviews this week.
Hardy played in the season opener against Tampa Bay and had four tackles a sack in a 20-14 win.
Hardy was found guilty in a bench trial, but under criminal procedure in North Carolina, lawyers can appeal that ruling. That basically gives Hardy a new trial where he is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Behind Hardy, the Panthers led the NFL in sacks last season with 60. Hardy, now in his fifth season, had 15 sacks in 2013 and has 26 sacks in last 32 games. He has 10 sacks in his last seven home games.
Jonathan Stewart will start for Williams, who has been bothered by a thigh injury all week. Williams had 72 yards in the season opener against Tampa Bay.
Carolina's other inactives are quarterback Joe Webb, linebacker Jason Williams, guards Garry Williams and Andrew Norwell and safety Tre Boston.
Detroit's inactives are safeties James Ihedigbo and Don Carey, wide receivers Kelvin Ogletree and Ryan Broyles, quarterback Kellen Moore, defensive end Larry Webster.