Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) – As expected, the NFL Players Association
has filed an appeal of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s suspension of Minnesota
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for violation of the league’s personal
In a letter sent to the Commissioner’s office, the union accused Goodell and
the NFL of denying Peterson due process by “making up the process and
punishment as it goes” while calling for the case to be heard by an
independent and neutral arbitrator.
Goodell announced Tuesday that Peterson will be suspended indefinitely without
pay — and at least through the remainder of this season — after pleading no
contest to a charge of misdemeanor reckless assault for allegedly striking his
4-year-old son with a wooden tree branch last May.
Peterson will not be considered for reinstatement prior to April 15 under the
In addition to questioning Goodell’s impartiality over the case, the union
contested several issues with the verdict that it viewed as inconsistent with
previous NFL decisions regarding the personal conduct policy.
It pointed out that no first-time offenders have served more than a two-game
suspension for acts of domestic violence, with the currently on-appeal Ray
Rice case the lone exception. The union also argued that since Peterson’s
incident occurred in May, it should not fall under the revised personal
conduct policy that the league issued in late August.
That change came as a response to a firestorm of public criticism Goodell
received for initially handing the ex-Baltimore Ravens running back Rice a
two-game ban for physically assaulting his future wife in an Atlantic City
casino. The Commissioner later admitted he “didn’t get in right” in his
handling of the Rice situation.
The union also claimed that league officials told NFLPA senior vice president
Troy Vincent that Peterson would be credited for time served during the period
he spent on the Commissioner’s Exempt list while his court case was ongoing.
Peterson has not played since the Vikings’ season opener on Sept. 7, though he
had been receiving his full salary while on the exempt list until Tuesday’s
The NFLPA closed the letter by demanding that Goodell recuse himself from the
appeals process, saying “there is simply no way for you to impartially
arbitrate Mr. Peterson’s appeal.”
“Given the intense criticism that you and the League office have faced from
NFL business partners, Congress, the media, NFL fans and the public at large,
and the public pronouncements and commitments you have personally made in
response to this criticism, it is clear that you have, by your actions,
rendered yourself evidently partial and biased in this matter,” the letter
Peterson was originally charged with reckless or negligent injury to a child,
but pleaded no contest to the lesser offense of misdemeanor reckless assault
after his legal team worked out an agreement with the Montgomery County
(Texas) district attorney. The 2012 NFL MVP avoided jail time and was placed
on probation while receiving a $4,000 fine and an order to perform 80 hours of