The NFL Players Association on Monday filed a federal lawsuit against the NFL, calling for a reversal in an arbitrator's ruling to uphold a season-ending suspension placed on Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, ESPN Chris Mortensen reports.
A copy of the suit can be found here. In it, the NFLPA argues that:
"This Petition presents the Court with the rare Arbitration Award that must be set aside. The Award is legally defective in myriad respects: it is contrary to the essence of the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”); it defies fundamental principles of notice, fairness, and consistency; and it was rendered by an evidently partial arbitrator who exceeded the scope of his authority."
Peterson and his representatives say they were promised a two-game suspension after the former NFL MVP pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault last month, ending a case that began with a felony child abuse charge. Instead, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hammered Peterson with a season-ending suspension. Peterson's appeal of the ruling was upheld by appeals officer Harold Henderson on Friday.
But as soon as the case looked resolved and Peterson was to remain in NFL purgatory until possible reinstatement in mid-April, more news broke Monday morning – a signal that an end to the dispute is nowhere near.
In just released recordings of what ABC News says is a conversation between NFL executive Troy Vincent and Peterson, Vincent apparently does tell Peterson that he would be suspended two games just six days prior to Goodell's season-ending decision.
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Deadspin transcribed a key portion of the recording.
"'It will be two additional games, not time served?" Peterson asks on the Nov. 12 recording.
"'No, it won't," Vincent corrects him. "The one this weekend. So really, it's just next week and you ... you're rolling. You're back."'
Had the two-game ban been the case, Peterson would have been allowed to play for the Vikings Week 13 against the New York Jets.
In an interview with ESPN on Friday, Peterson said he would "of course" take action against the NFL by filing a lawsuit.
"They got a biased arbitrator in Harold Henderson, who has ruled 95 percent in Roger [Goodell's] favor," Peterson said. "I was hoping that, by him hearing the evidence, that he would do the right thing with what was presented to him -- knowing that my incident, just like Ray Rice’s incident, happened during the old CBA, not the new process they’re trying to lay on me. That has been tough to deal with. I’m built for it. It is what it is. Now I’ve got to sit back and go through this [lawsuit] process. Hopefully they’re not biased. I don’t see why it would be tough to rule against the arbitrator. If we would’ve had an unbiased arbitrator, it might have turned out different."