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Adrian Peterson suspended without pay for rest of 2014 NFL season


The NFL announced on Tuesday that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will be suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2014 NFL season. He reportedly will not be eligible for reinstatement until April 15, 2015.

Peterson is expected to lose approximately $4.2 million as a result of the NFL’s decision, reports Ian Rapoport, as relayed in an report.

A hearing was held Monday related to Peterson’s request to be removed from Commissioner’s Exempt List. The hearing was held via conference call. Monday’s hearing followed a review the NFL held on Friday that Peterson did not attend. Peterson has been on the list since September and has not played in a game since Week 1.

The NFL argues that Peterson is in violation of the league’s NFL Personal Conduct Policy in relation to the”abusive discipline that he inflicted on his four-year-old son last May.”

The NFLPA announced immediately after the announcement was made in a press release that it intends to appeal the decision and request that the appeal process be overseen by a neutral arbitrator.

The decision by the NFL to suspend Adrian Peterson is 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.

The facts are that Adrian has asked for a meeting with Roger Goodell, the discipline imposed is inconsistent and an NFL executive told Adrian that his time on the Commissioner’s list would be considered as time served.

The NFLPA will appeal this suspension and will demand that a neutral arbitrator oversee the appeal.

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 NFL announced its decision on Peterson via a statement posted on its NFL Communications site that contained excerpts of a letter to the running back written by Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The portions containing segments of Goodell’s letter to Peterson read in part:

“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.”

“First, the injury was inflicted on a child who was only four years old.  The difference in size and strength between you and the child is significant, and your actions clearly caused physical injury to the child.  While an adult may have a number of options when confronted with abuse – to flee, to fight back, or to seek help from law enforcement – none of those options is realistically available to a four-year old child.  Further, the injury inflicted on your son includes the emotional and psychological trauma to a young child who suffers criminal physical abuse at the hands of his father.

“Second, 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.

“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.”

Additional excerpts from Goodell’s correspondence lays out the allegations of how Peterson abused his 4-year-old son with a switch and the injures suffered by the boy due to the punishment. Goodell also continues to highlight in his letter that Peterson’s public comments on the incident indicates that he believes this kind of discipline to be appropriate and that the running back intended to continue to discipline his children in this manner.

“The well-being of your children is of paramount concern,” Goodell wrote in the letter. “In the absence of speaking to you to understand your current disposition toward child discipline, we cannot be sure that this conduct will not be repeated.  Moreover, we are unaware of any effort on your part to acknowledge the seriousness of your conduct and your responsibility to demonstrate a genuine commitment to change.

“In order to assess your progress going forward, I will establish periodic reviews, the first of which will be on or about April 15, 2015. At that time, I will meet with you and your representatives and the NFLPA to review the extent to which you have complied with your program of counseling and therapy and both made and lived up to an affirmative commitment to change such that this conduct will not occur again. A failure to cooperate and follow your plan will result in a lengthier suspension without pay.”

Goodell spells out in a clear manner that continued conduct such as those that gave rise to Peterson’s arrest will not be tolerated by the league.

It is imperative that you to avoid any incident of this kind in the future,” Goodell wrote. “Any further violation of the Personal Conduct Policy will result in additional discipline and may subject you to banishment from the NFL.”

(photo credit: Hannah Foslien)