NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE ; NFL Suspends Peterson for Rest of Season

By Campbell, Dave | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), November 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE ; NFL Suspends Peterson for Rest of Season


Campbell, Dave, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


MINNEAPOLIS - Adrian Peterson's dispute with the NFL reached another level when the league suspended Minnesota's star running back without pay for at least the rest of the season. As his representatives initiated an appeal, Peterson remained at the center of an escalating argument between the league and the NFL Players Association over the player discipline process.

Commissioner Roger Goodell told Peterson on Tuesday he will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15 for his violation of the NFL personal conduct policy. Peterson pleaded no contest Nov. 4 to misdemeanor reckless assault in Texas for injuries to his 4-year- old son with a wooden switch.

The NFLPA quickly called for a neutral arbitrator to handle an appeal and sharply rebuked the league for what it labeled as inconsistency and unfairness in determining the discipline. The NFL's words were even stronger, with a nearly 1,600-word statement spelling out the conditions for Peterson's return to the field and describing the reasons for the punishment.

The NFL said Peterson would stay on the special exempt list and continue to be paid during the appeal process, but the union's attempt to at least temporarily reinstate him failed. The grievance filed against the league last week was overturned Tuesday by the arbitrator who heard the arguments, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Even if Peterson were to win a shorter suspension with an appeal, the Vikings actually playing him would be an implausible scenario given the heat they have taken and the long time Peterson has been away from the team. The Vikings have six games left and host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

The Vikings issued only a brief statement: "We respect the league's decision and will have no further comment at this time.

Fullback Jerome Felton said on Twitter that characterizing his feelings on the NFL's decision as a disagreement would be the "understatement of the year. In Pittsburgh, Steelers safety Mike Mitchell questioned the system that gives Goodell executive power on player discipline.

"I'm not just trying to bash him or come down on him, but I think players would feel better if he wasn't just judge, jury and executioner, Mitchell said.

Peterson has said he intended no harm to his 4-year-old son, only discipline. Peterson was on a special exempt list at the sole discretion of Goodell, essentially paid leave while the case went through the legal system.

The NFLPA said Peterson was told that would count as time served toward a suspension, citing an unidentified NFL executive. League spokesman Brian McCarthy said the stay on the exempt list was taken into account, citing "aggravating circumstances for the extended suspension. …

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