U.S. District Judge David Doty rules that an NFL arbitrator failed to meet his duty in Peterson’s child abuse case. This ruling sends the case back for further proceedings. Doty says the NFL arbitrator “simply disregarded the law of the shop and in doing so failed to meet his duty” under the collective bargaining agreement. The issue was how the enhanced personal conduct policy (which increases a suspension for players involved with domestic violence from two games to six games) was applied in Peterson’s case. Because this policy was implemented after the injuries occurred to Peterson’s son, the NFLPA argued that the prior standard of punishment should apply. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith says in a statement that the decision is a “victory for the rule of law, due process and fairness.”
Our collective bargaining agreement has rules for implementation of the personal conduct policy and when those rules are violated, our union always stands up to protect our players’ rights. This is yet another example why neutral arbitration is good for our players, good for the owners and good for our game.
The NFL denies Peterson’s appeal of a league suspension without pay for violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson:
I conclude that the player has not demonstrated that the process and procedures surrounding his discipline were not fair and consistent. He was afforded all the protections and rights to which he is entitled, and I find no basis to vacate or reduce the discipline.
The NFL Players Association appeals Peterson’s suspension without pay, requesting neutral arbitration. Excerpt from NFL Players Association’s letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell:
Indeed, your retroactive application of the revised Policy, imposition of grossly disproportionate discipline, and implementation of unprecedented procedures underscore your inability lawfully to serve as Hearing Officer. Under these circumstances, neither you nor anyone associated with the NFL could issue an arbitration award that would be enforceable under the Labor Management Relations Act or the Federal Arbitration Act. We are prepared to commence discussions with you immediately about the appointment of a neutral arbitrator.
The NFL announces that Peterson will be suspended for the remainder of the season, without pay, as a result of having assaulted his son. He will not be eligible to play again until at least April 15, although Commissioner Roger Goodel has indicated that his suspension could last even longer:
The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision
Nike suspends its sponsorship deal with Peterson due to child abuse allegations. Nike stops sales of Peterson merchandise at its Twin Cities stores. Nike:
Nike in no way condones child abuse or domestic violence of any kind and has shared our concerns with the NFL. We have suspended our contract with Adrian Peterson.
Mylan, makers of the epipen, terminates endorsement deal with Peterson after the Vikings put Peterson on paid leave. Mylan:
Mylan has ended all activities with Adrian Peterson. We remain committed to supporting those managing potentially life-threatening allergies and will continue our educational efforts to increase anaphylaxis awareness and preparedness.
Peterson is reinstated by the Minnesota Vikings after sitting out Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots. Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf say they will wait to see how the legal system deals with Peterson’s child abuse charges before making a decision on his future with the team. The Wilf’s statement:
To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child. At this time, however, we believe this is a matter of due process and we should allow the legal system to proceed so we can come to the most effective conclusions and then determine the appropriate course of action. This is a difficult path to navigate, and our focus is on doing the right thing.
Peterson is indicted in a Texas court for reckless or negligent injury of a child. The indictment stems from an incident where Peterson supposedly used a switch to spank his son. Vikings spokesman Jeff Anderson:
The Vikings are in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation involving Adrian Peterson. At this time, we will defer further questions to Adrian’s attorney Rusty Hardin.