Hardy makes statement with play, shoes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy made a statement on Sunday that went beyond his three sacks and four quarterback hurries.

It was a fashion statement.

Hardy came out in gold-colored cleats that likely will earn him a fine from the NFL's fashion police for violating the league's equipment policy.

According to the bylaws, NFL players are permitted to wear only those colors or combination of colors for helmets, jerseys, pants and stockings that are consistent with the team colors. Gold is not a part of the Carolina color scheme.

Hardy, who has a deal with Under Armour, didn't seem to mind that his statement will cost him after raising his sack total to a team-best 11.

"Swag. Never heard of Kraken swag?'' the player who refers to himself as the "Kraken'' told reporters after Sunday's 17-13 victory over New Orleans that clinched a playoff spot. "They're a little bit lighter, they've got more grip and I like to make the fans happy.''

You knew something was coming prior to the game if you followed Hardy's Twitter feed, @ItsGHardy. He wrote: "Be sure to keep a eye on Ya boy in warm ups and during the game #surprise #krakenout''

He followed that up with: "Y'all see my good snitch quidditch cleats #hogwarts #fast #gold #snitch #krakenswag #krakenout. #playoffs''

Hardy wouldn't be the first Carolina player fined this season for violating the equipment rule. Quarterback Cam Newton was fined $10,000 earlier in the year for wearing Under Armour clips on his helmet visor.