The NFL has released a statement indicating that they will suspend Adrian Peterson indefinitely, and for at least the rest of the year.
- Adrian Peterson will be suspended for the rest of the year, possibly longer pending review. It’s an indefinite suspension that Peterson can end through a series of steps.
- He must complete counseling and therapy towards a rehabilitative effort
- He must not violate league policy or the law during the suspension
- He must not violate any conditions imposed upon him as a result of the no contest plea
- The NFL did not receive information outside of “some court papers related to the November 4 plea agreement.” They drew on statements from the pediatrician and “contemporaneous media reports.”
- They will consider reinstatement on April 15.
The NFL argued that the severity of the decision came from three things:
- The age and power difference between Adrian Peterson and the child. “While an adult may have a number of options when confronted with abuse, none of those options is realistically available to a four-year old child.”
- In the hands of an accomplished athlete, the switch is functionally a weapon.
- He has not shown “meaningful remorse” or understanding of what he did.
The NFL reiterated that the personal conduct policy gives them broad powers in this case, and that deferred judgments (the no contest plea) have historically been used by the NFL when enforcing policy. The CBA as negotiated gave the NFL enormous leeway, and the players are paying for it.
Though I didn’t predict this specifically, it’s not surprising. I had long predicted that counseling would be a big part of the punishment. Adrian Peterson has appealed the decision through the NFLPA, which have released a statement (in full below). In that statement, they argued that an NFL executive told them the NFL would consider any time on the exempt list as “time served,” which they clearly did not here. They further accuse the NFL of being inconsistent and arbitrary, and DeMaurice Smith went on air to say that the NFL has been “winging it,” which is almost certainly the case.
UPDATE: The NFL has responded to the accusation of reneging on a promise to consider any time on the exempt list as time served, per Albert Breer.
There were aggravating circumstances in this case. The time (Peterson) missed on paid leave was taken into account in the discipline.
That means the NFL would have suspended him for at least 15 games before review.
For now, Peterson is back on the exempt list because of his appeal and will continue to be paid. He will meet with a doctor on December 1 to design his program.
For what it’s worth, I find it surprising and unlikely that an NFL executive said they would consider time on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List as time served, as they gave out a number of statements in the past week saying the opposite—though I would be equally surprised if Smith was outright lying.
Regardless of the appeal, Adrian will be out for quite some time. Florio reports at Pro Football Talk that despite rumors of a rift in the Vikings organization, they want Peterson back, universally. The statement from the NFL contains a misleading sentence, that he pled no contest to the reckless assault of the child. While that’s all technically true, the way it reads is inaccurate—he pled no contest to reckless assault, different from reckless assault to a child.
UPDATE: The Vikings have released a statement.
The NFL has informed the Vikings of today’s decision regarding Adrian Peterson. We respect the league’s decision and will have no further comment at this time.