Adrian Peterson's attorney Rusty Hardin was stunned to hear that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell imposed a suspension on Adrian Peterson that, barring a victorious appeal, will keep the Vikings' all-time leading rusher out of football until at least mid-April.
In an interview with ESPN's "Mike and Mike" on Wednesday morning, Hardin repeatedly ripped Goodell, calling him a"self-righteous" man "who doesn't know what he's talking about."
"If Mr. Goodell over-disciplined his child, he would be contacted by child protective services. Adrian has [been contacted]," Hardin said. "There would be a petition to have him seek counseling and parenting training; that has happened in the civil system in Minnesota. There is nothing the NFL is doing here except trying to make up for the horrible way they've handled domestic violence – which this was not. All they're doing is trying to curry favor with the public by issuing this self-serving statement I just read, which is unbelievably self-righteous by a man who doesn't know what he's talking about."
"We're supposed to give people second chances, not just self-righteously blast them repeatedly," he added.
Hardin was especially upset with the way Goodell crafted his suspension notification letter to Peterson. Goodell wrote that Peterson didn't show any "meaningful remorse" for overstepping the boundaries of child discipline.
"For Goodell's statement to be so hypocritically self-righteous about Adrian not showing sufficient remorse," Hardin said, "who in the hell does he think he is?"
Goodell has faced public scrutiny for the way he handled Ray Rice's situation. The former Ravens running back punched his fiancee in the face and TMZ released video of the assault.
As the story goes, Peterson seems on track to miss the rest of the season unless his season-ending (and beyond) suspension is lifted via a successful appeal. The NFLPA has requested a neutral arbitrator – not Goodell – to hear the appeal.
"His (Peterson's) whole purpose as a man and as a player is to be treated fairly," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in an interview with the Pioneer Press. "Adrian wants to play. We know his teammates want him to play. The issues at stake are significant, and his rights as a player are paramount.
"Our job is to do what's best for the player, protect his rights and try to achieve the best solution for him."
Peterson has not commented since being suspended Tuesday, but he did break some silence on Twitter early Wednesday with a sad note about a young boy who lost his life to neuroblastoma.