NFL Upholds Adrian Peterson's Suspension Until April 2015
Amid child-abuse allegations, the running back's unpaid suspension will remain in effect until April 15
Peterson won’t be considered for reinstatement before April 15, and by then he might not be with the Minnesota Vikings anymore.
Harold Henderson, the league-appointed arbitrator who heard Peterson’s appeal, released Friday his decision affirming the Nov. 18 punishment levied by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for the child-abuse case that kept Peterson out of all but one game this season.
He’d been on paid leave, even during the appeal, but Henderson’s ruling translated to a fine of more than $4.1 million. That’s the six-game portion of his salary this year.
According to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, a complaint will be filed against the NFL on Peterson’s behalf in federal court in Minnesota as early as Monday. The person spoke Friday to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the lawsuit had not yet been finalized.
Nothing is final about Peterson’s status with the Vikings, either, and coaches and players have said often this year they’d welcome him back.
But in an interview Friday with ESPN.com, Peterson said he’s been so frustrated by this process with the NFL that he’s considered retiring. Focusing on real estate instead and even trying out as an Olympic sprinter in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes have entered his mind as options, he said.
“You only live once. It might be time for me to pursue that,” Peterson told ESPN.com.
The six-time Pro Bowl pick, three-time AP All-Pro and two-time NFL rushing leader has a contract that runs through 2017, with a salary for 2015 at $12.75 million. That’s not guaranteed like the other major sports, though, and the Vikings could release him before next season and owe him nothing, taking only a $2.4 million hit on their salary cap.
Goodell announced in August a stiffer penalty for players involved with domestic violence. The union argued that Peterson, who was charged with felony child abuse in September for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son in May, should be subject to the prior guidelines. Henderson said that argument didn’t matter.
The Vikings initially announced Peterson would stay on the active roster after the first game he missed following the indictment, but they reversed course less than two days later following intense public pressure and placed him on the exempt list at Goodell’s approval.
Peterson pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault in Texas Nov. 4 for probation time, community service and a small fine. He acknowledged physically disciplining the boy as he had been as a youth, but he said he meant no harm and was sorry for the trouble he caused.
“I love my son more than any of you can imagine,” he said outside the courthouse that day.