NFL Players Association: 'Today, Greg Hardy made a decision to take a voluntary leave of absence to resolve his pending legal issue. The NFLPA and NFL worked with Greg, his representatives and the Carolina Panthers on this matter. We support this decision and hope the best for him and his family' - statement
The Carolina Panthers are a professional American football team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They play in the Southern division of the National Football Conference (NFC), one of the two conferences in the National Football League (NFL). The team is worth approximately USD $1 billion, according to Forbes, and is controlled by Jerry Richardson and his family; they have a 48% stake. The remainder of the team is held by a group of 14 limited partners. The head coach is Ron Rivera, while the president is Danny Morrison.
The Panthers first competed in 1995 and fared well in their first two years, finishing 7–9 in 1995 (an all-time best for an expansion NFL team's first season) and 12–4 in 1996. They did not have another winning season until 2003, when the team won the NFC Championship Game and reached Super Bowl XXXVIII, losing 32–29 to the New England Patriots. After recording playoff appearances in 2005 and 2008, the team failed to record another playoff appearance until 2013, when they finished with a 12–4 record and won the NFC South. The Panthers have made the playoffs five times, reaching the NFC Championship Game in three of them. They have won four division titles, one of them in the NFC West and three of them in the NFC South.
The Carolina Panthers are legally registered as Panthers Football, LLC. The team is headquartered in Bank of America Stadium, located in uptown Charlotte; the stadium also serves as the team's home field. The Panthers are one of the few teams in the NFL to own the stadium they play in, which is legally registered as Panthers Stadium, LLC. The Panthers are supported throughout the Carolinas; although the team has played their home games in Charlotte since the completion of their stadium in 1996, they played home games in Clemson, South Carolina, during their first season, and they host their annual training camp in Spartanburg, South Carolina. At home games, the atmosphere has been described as comparable to that of other NFL teams, with some games playing host to a large number of fans of the opposing team; this has been attributed to several factors, such as the city's relatively recent entry into the NFL, the popularity of basketball in the Charlotte region, and the large number of Charlotte residents who are originally from other cities with NFL teams. The Panthers' uniforms consist of black, white, and blue jerseys paired with white and silver pants, a pattern which has only seen minor changes since the team's inception. The team maintains rivalries with the three other teams in the NFC South, in addition to having out-of-division rivalries with the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys.