NFL responds to criticism over investigation into Panthers interim GM

NFL responds to criticism over investigation into Panthers interim GM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NFL is responding to criticism, claiming it's going too far by investigating Carolina Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney.

Hurney has been placed on paid administrative leave after his ex-wife accused him of harassment.

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The league confirmed Tuesday it is investigating Hurney after his ex-wife filed for a protective order.

Channel 9 went through the documents filed last Friday afternoon. Hurney's ex-wife said “he was extremely controlling and verbally and emotionally abusive.”

However, the judge found no evidence of domestic violence and denied the request for a protective order.

Hurney's ex-wife then withdrew the complaint, but the NFL said its investigation will continue, and Hurney remains on paid leave with the Panthers.

Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory discussed the issue on his WBT Radio show and called out the NFL for caving to pressure from the "Me Too" movement.

"I think we are crossing the line," McCrory told Eyewitness News. "A dispute between a couple, my gosh, where do we cross the line of privacy for public officials today?"

This bombshell hits the Panthers months after team owner Jerry Richardson came under fire for alleged workplace misconduct.

In Hurney's case, McCrory thinks the NFL is succumbing to public pressure.

"Probably because of the ‘Me Too’ movement and because of the Jerry Richardson controversy," McCrory said.

A league spokesperson said that is not the case.

Spokesperson Brian McCarthy sent Eyewitness News a copy of the personal conduct policy which states in part, "Everyone who is part of the league must refrain from conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL."

Eyewitness News saw a representative from the NFL in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse on Wednesday looking through Hurney's case files.

McCrory argues personnel issues should remain private until claims are substantiated.

"I think the NFL has gone too far in publicizing, there is an investigation, because the term investigation implies something bad has happened," McCrory said.

The league's policy also states:

"It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime and that players and anyone associated with the league is held to a higher standard."

The Panthers brought back Hurney to be their interim general manager in July after then-owner Jerry Richardson fired Dave Gettleman days before the start of training camp. Hurney was the Panthers GM from 1998 through 2012. He's credited with building the core of a team that reached the Super Bowl two seasons ago.

Hurney and two others were to be interviewed for the position last week.

The pair married in 1988 and divorced in 2014.

This is just the latest in a string of controversies for the team. The NFL is also investigating Richardson, who has been accused of misconduct in the workplace.

Shortly after those accusations came to light, Richardson put the team up for sale.

Hurney's attorney told Channel 9 that even though the motion was dismissed, Hurney still has to deal with the fallout, but added that her client is anxious to get back to work very soon.

The NFL’s personal conduct policy was implemented in 1997 and last updated in 2014, the same year it investigated serious abuse allegations against Greg Hardy and Ray Rice.

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