Adrian Peterson, a Pro Bowl running back for the Minnesota Vikings, is now eligible for reinstatement into the NFL, according to a ruling handed down by U.S. District Court Judge David Doty. Peterson was under an indefinite suspension and missed the final 15 games of the 2014 season.
The NFL player’s union filed a lawsuit on Peterson’s behalf to get him reinstated. Doty stated in his ruling that the arbitrator, Harold Henderson, blatantly ignored the business’s law and by doing so failed to do his job under the collective bargaining. Brian McCarthy, a NFL spokesman, stated that the league does not agree with Doty’s decision and will appeal.
McCarthy further stated that Peterson would be placed back on the exempt list of commissioner Roger Goodell rather than being immediately reinstated, pending a determination by the Eighth Circuit Court or more proceedings by appeals officer Henderson. The case now goes back to the league’s process of collective bargaining arbitration.
The point of the issue with this case was the enforcement of the updated personal conduct policy, increasing a suspension for players involved with domestic violence from two games to six games. The judge found that Roger Goodell used his authority inappropriately in suspending Peterson until at least April 15.
Peterson had pleaded no contest in 2014 to misdemeanor reckless assault. Peterson used a switch on his son to reprimand him last May and was suspended from playing football in November.
The Ray Rice scuttlebutt created stricter punishments under certain circumstances and the league changed its Personal Conduct Policy to reflect this. Rice, running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was seen on camera knocking out a woman in an elevator with a punch. Goodell used this new policy against Peterson, and the NFL player’s union cited that the new policy was implemented after the Peterson incident. Therefore, Adrian Peterson should be eligible for reinstatement. The NFL contended that the ruling was inapplicable to Henderson’s and Doty did not agree.
If Peterson is reinstated it is not known whether he will play for the Minnesota Vikings again or another team. Peterson wants to leave Minnesota because he felt let down by the organization during the process of the child abuse case. His agent, Ben Dogra, had to be pulled away from Vikings VP Rob Brzezinski during an intense conversation at the scouting combine for the NFL, adding to the precariousness of Peterson’s future.
Both the general manager and the Vikings’ coach have suggested they want him back. He is scheduled to earn $12.75 million next year, though the Vikings have options with Peterson like releasing him, trying to trade him, or attempting to restructure his contract.
If Peterson returned to the Vikings under his current contract, he would still be the league’s highest paid running back. In an interview with ESPN in December, he stated he should not take a cut in pay in 2015. The new league year begins March 10, at which time the Vikings can cut him. If they trade him, no money would be owed to him and the Vikings would only take a $2.4 million hit to the salary cap. It all comes down to Adrian Peterson’s fate in becoming eligible for reinstatement.
By Michele Enli
Photo by Rick Burtzel – License