Saying Adrian Peterson has “shown no meaningful remorse” for injuring his young son, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended the Minnesota Vikings star without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 season Tuesday morning for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
The NFL Players Association quickly announced it will appeal the decision and demand a neutral arbitrator — not Goodell — to hear the appeal, accusing an unnamed league executive of telling Peterson his time on the exempt list would be considered time served.
If the suspension stands, the soonest Peterson would be considered for reinstatement is April 15, 2015, Goodell said in a letter notifying the 2012 NFL MVP of the decision and laying out the basics of a counseling and treatment program, including a mandatory meeting by Dec. 1 with a league-appointed psychiatrist.
“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,” Goodell’s letter said. “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.”
Fail to do so, and Peterson could face additional discipline, including banishment from the NFL.
Peterson, 29, was indicted Sept. 12 on a felony charge for injuring his 4-year-old son while disciplining him with a switch months earlier. He avoided jail time by pleading no contest Nov. 4 to a reduced charge of misdemeanor reckless assault.
But the NFL came down hard in what could be a test case for the personal conduct policy Goodell has pledged to revise and strengthen in the wake of the league’s mishandling of the Ray Rice domestic assault case.
The letter said Peterson would remain on the exempt list with pay while his appeal is pending. A grievance to have Peterson removed from the exempt list was heard Monday in a brief conference call by arbitrator Shyam Das, whose decision is due by Saturday.
Peterson has been paid for the nine games he has missed, eight of them since his voluntary placement on the exempt list Sept. 17. A six-game unpaid suspension would cost Peterson $4,147,058 in base salary.
“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,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “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.”