The National Football League on Tuesday suspended Adrian Peterson without pay for the remainder of the season.
In a statement issued by the league, Peterson will not be up for reinstatement until April 15, 2015, per the rules of the NFL's personal conduct policy. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Peterson will immediately appeal the suspension.
Goodell slams Peterson in letter
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hammered Peterson in a letter citing reasons for the suspension.
“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.”
The NFL Players Association, which backs Peterson, released a statement arguing that the suspension is unwarranted and a clear violation of the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
"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."
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike," via Pro Football Talk, that "You get the feeling over the last few months that the National Football League has simply been making it (their own rules) up as they go along."
USA Today opinion
USA Today's Mike Foss's opinion drew a lot of attention when he wrote that Peterson wasn't suspended for using corporal punishment on his son, but because Peterson poked the NFL in the eye. Peterson refused to attend a hearing last Friday because, as he said, it "was inconsistent with the CBA."
Foss thinks that has more to do with the heavy suspension, and in doing so, the NFL failed "to win back the trust of players or fans."
Peterson's chances of playing?
Peterson cannot play during the appeal process. However, according to NFL Media's Albert Breer, Peterson could resume playing for the Vikings this season if the arbitrator who oversaw Monday's grievance hearing removes Peterson from the commissioner's exempt list. The arbitrator is expected to make a ruling by Wednesday, although one report says a ruling could come Tuesday.
But then ESPN's Kevin Seifert reports Peterson would need an appeal victory and a favorable ruling from the arbitrator to resume playing.
In addition to the suspension, Goodell warned Peterson that a "failure" to attend counseling and therapy "will result in a lengthier suspension without pay.”
Goodell will check in with Peterson periodically, with the first progress report coming on or close to April 15.
The Vikings released this statement about 90 minutes after Monday's news broke.
"The NFL has informed the Vikings of today’s decision regarding Adrian Peterson. We respect the league’s decision and will have no further comment at this time."
Teammates, others react
Peterson got exactly what he deserved, writes Jim Souhan in the Star Tribune.