NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for at least the remainder of 2014 on Tuesday morning.
The indefinitely-long exile comes in the aftermath of Peterson’s plea deal in his child-abuse case. The agreement put a misdemeanor punishment on Peterson’s record that made no reference to child abuse. In September, a Texas grand jury indicted Peterson on charges stemming from the player disciplining his four-year-old son with a switch. An earlier grand jury declined to prosecute.
The 2012 MVP’s punishment by the league comes without pay. Peterson, who received pay during his hiatus on the commissioner’s “exempt” list while resolving the case, loses more than $4 million as a result of the league discipline.
Peterson’s behavior toward Goodell and the league office likely influenced the commissioner’s decision. Late last week, Peterson, on the advice of the union, refused to attend a hearing with Goodell because it was “something new and inconsistent with” the collective-bargaining agreement. “After consulting with the union, I told the NFL that I will attend the standard meeting with the Commissioner prior to possible imposition of discipline, as has been the long-term practice under the CBA, but I wouldn’t participate in a newly created and non-collectively bargained pre-discipline hearing that would include outside people I don’t know and who would have roles in the process that the NFL wouldn’t disclose,” Peterson reasoned.
The all-time rushing leader for the Minnesota Vikings plans on appealing the suspension. The NFL Players Association demands that a figure independent of the owners hear the appeal.
“The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision,” Goodell said in a statement. “Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement. You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy.”