NFL Players Association Responds, Will Appeal Decision

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will be suspended without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 season, the NFL announced Tuesday morning.

The NFL suspended Peterson for violating the league’s personal conduct policy in connection with the child abuse case involving his 4-year-old son where he admitted to striking the boy with a switch as a form of discipline. Peterson pleaded no contest on Nov. 4 to reckless assault of a child.

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Some wanted more, but other think this is a very tough penalty.

It’s one of the toughest the NFL has ever handed down, and it could cost Peterson $4.1 million.

But the NFL says it had “serious concern” that Peterson doesn’t fully appreciate how serious his conduct was.

It said it doesn’t believe the Vikings star running back showed “meaningful” remorse for the beating he gave his son.

And if he doesn’t get therapy and counseling, he could be suspended next year, too.

In a letter to Peterson, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell  said, “The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision. Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement.  You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy.”

The letter said Peterson has three days to appeal the suspension and if he does, Peterson would be put back on the NFL’s exempt list.

Goodell said “the repetitive use of a switch in this instance is the functional equivalent of a weapon, particularly in the hands of someone with the strength of an accomplished professional athlete.”

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“Third, you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct.  When indicted, you acknowledged what you did but said that you would not ‘eliminate whooping my kids’ and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child’s mother. You also said that you felt ‘very confident with my actions because I know my intent.’ These comments raise the serious concern that you do not fully appreciate the seriousness of your conduct, or even worse, that you may feel free to engage in similar conduct in the future,” Goodell added.

Peterson was hoping to be removed from the NFL’s exempt list, which he’s been on since Week 3. In his only game of the season, the Vikings won their season opener against the St. Louis Rams 34-6. He was deactivated in their loss to New England and has been on the league’s exempt list, a suspension with pay, since facing allegations of child abuse.

The Minnesota Vikings responded shortly after the announcement, saying they “respect the league’s decision and will have no further comment at this time.”

The NFL Players Association, however, criticized the decision and said it’s “another example of the credibility gap that exists between the agreements they make and the actions they take. Since Adrian’s legal matter was adjudicated, the NFL has ignored their obligations and attempted to impose a new and arbitrary disciplinary proceeding.”

According to the player’s union, an NFL executive told Peterson his time on the exempt list would count as time served. The union said “We call on the NFL Management Council to show our players and our sponsors leadership by committing to collective bargaining so a fair personal conduct policy can be implemented as quickly as possible.”

The NFLPA says they will appeal the suspension and demand a neutral arbitrator to oversee the appeal. And while the appeal is underway, Peterson will continue to get paid.

The NFL said the earliest it will consider reinstatement for Peterson is April of 2015.

The Minnesota Vikings said “We respect the league’s decision and will have no further comment at this time.”

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