UPDATE 4: Sponsors care. Nike just terminated their relationship with Adrian Peterson after suspending it on September 17th per multiple media reports. That should give us pause in assuming the NFL will be lenient.
UPDATE 3: Per Ian Rapaport, the NFL will not consider time missed on the exempt list as part of any punishment and that a “suspension looms”
Adrian Peterson being on paid-leave since his situation arose is not considered discipline, source points out. Suspension looms.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 6, 2014
Also, it could take weeks:
When will the Peterson situation be resolved? Could be weeks. Means playing next week unlikely. As for hearing, unclear if Goodell presides
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 6, 2014
Strong language. Seems like a suspension is a near-certainty at this point.
UPDATE: It looks like Mike Florio’s speculation on ProFootballTalk may have had some basis in fact, as Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune wrote that the delay may be coming from the team, as the Vikings are determining whether or not they want Adrian to play for them this year. But I wouldn’t read far too far into it, as the same article indicates that they are still looking from direction from the league on the matter.
UPDATE2: Both Adam Schefter and Ian Rapaport report that Adrian Peterson has been informed that his case will fall under the personal conduct policy, not the domestic violence policy. They also report that the NFL has requested that Adrian provide all relevant information regarding his case and that he has a right to a hearing before they hand a decision down. The NFL will consult with designated experts, and through that consultation will make a decision.
This means we don’t have to worry about the NFLPA pushing back on the definitional problems of using the DV policy or that any precedents set in the DV policy apply. The commissioner has full discretion with regards to the personal conduct policy and can punish how he sees fit, though that doesn’t mean the NFLPA wouldn’t push back. Michael McCann, a sports law expert, speculated that it would be possible to suspend Peterson for games already missed and take those game checks, which would be good news for Peterson’s playing time and fans who want him back, but it seems like that isn’t the direction this is going in.
The NFL is proceeding with extreme caution on this one, and wouldn’t even let Peterson know what the impact of any plea negotiation would be. The more cautious they are, the more likely it is their sensitivity to bad PR leads to a harsher punishment for Peterson.
The NFL has told Peterson that he will remain on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list until they make a decision regarding any punishment from the league.
Note: Further clarification in regards to the DV policy vs. the personal conduct policy—the domestic violence policy falls underneath the personal conduct policy, but the NFL specifically chose not to use wording regarding the DV policy in order to not constrain themselves. That they didn’t inform Peterson his case would fall under the domestic violence policy is perhaps significant in itself. The NFL would probably not hesitate to use or publicize the policy they crafted to shield themselves from criticism.
Original story below:
According to Mike Garafolo at Fox Sports, Adrian Peterson and his team (which includes his lawyers and the NFLPA) attempted to work out an understanding with the NFL as his plea deal negotiations were going with Montgomery County in regards to his reinstatement, but the NFL rejected any deal or understanding.
The NFL, according to Garafolo, the NFL told Peterson and his team that a decision would be forthcoming and that he and his team would have to wait until the NFL informed them.
This means that the NFL hasn’t removed Peterson from the exempt/commissioner’s permission list yet, which at least suggests that they will not reinstate Peterson until they have a plan for his punishment, whether it’s a suspension or fine. Though he was added to the list at the Wilfs’ request, the commissioner has ultimate control over this kind of exempt list. The longer they wait, the more likely it seems that the punishment will be harsher than a simple fine.
That all makes for an interesting twist, because one of the assumptions that many people made in wondering why Peterson changed course and agreed to a plea deal was that there was an understanding between him and the NFL that he could be fast-tracked into playing this year. It turns out that Peterson didn’t know that. If anything, this reduces the optimism surrounding his short-term NFL prospects, but it probably will not prevent him from playing by the end of the year (as far as we know).
After Garafolo published his story, he tweeted out that the NFLPA could possibly fight a suspension and that Peterson may have to undergo a hearing before a decision is made.
Very possible. If NFL suspends, NFLPA could fight. RT @CVancheri: Morning. Will Peterson have a hearing similar to the Ray Rice hearing?
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 6, 2014