The NFL Players Association's lawsuit against the NFL on behalf of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will enter a federal courtroom on Feb. 6, Pro Football Talk reports.
The first court date is expected to serve as a procedural hearing and Peterson will likely attend.
"While the hearing is believed to be primarily procedural, individual litigants often choose to attend one or more of the preliminary phases of the court proceedings to show respect for the process, to demonstrate that the person takes the matter seriously, and to meet the presiding judge."
ESPN reports the NFLA filed a motion three days after arbiter Harold Henderson upheld NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's decision to suspend the Vikings' running back until at least April 15. The NFLPA issued a statement saying Henderson was "an evidently partial arbitrator who exceeded the scope of his authority."
Peterson was arrested Sept. 12 on a child abuse charge in Montgomery County, Texas. On Nov. 4, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault. He played in Minnesota's Week 1 victory over the St. Louis Rams before serving the rest of the season either on Goodell's exempt list or suspended.
The union argues that missing nearly an entire season was more than enough punishment.
According to USA Today, the union's motion requests "an order declaring that Mr. Peterson is entitled immediately to be reinstated as a player in the National Football League because he has already served far more than the maximum two-game suspension that could have been imposed under the CBA."
Peterson's possible reinstatement date of mid-April is more than a month after the new league year begins on March 10, according to ESPN. The new league year coincides with the start of free agency. If Peterson wants to play for a new team – or the Vikings want to trade him – it's beneficial for both parties if Peterson is reinstated by the time the new league year begins.
The judge assigned to Peterson's challenge is U.S. District Court Judge David S. Doty of Minneapolis.
In 2011, the Washington Post asked if the then-81-year-old Doty was the most influential man in professional football when he helped the league reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, thus, ending the threat of a lockout.
Doty has reviewed NFL labor issues for more than 20 years.