Peterson and representatives of the NFL Players Association, advocating Peterson’s behalf, had a 30-minute conference call with NFL officials on Monday afternoon discussing Peterson’s presence on the exempt list, which only Commissioner Roger Goodell can end, according to the rules of that list.
A decision about Peterson’s status on the exempt list must come by Saturday, but it seems logical a decision could be made before the Vikings start practice on Wednesday for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
But even if Peterson is removed from that list, the NFL could impose further discipline under the personal conduct policy, although any additional discipline could be challenged by Peterson and the union, too.
The NFLPA and Peterson contend that the signed agreement to put him on the exempt list said he would be removed from that list when his child abuse case in Texas was adjudicated. Peterson was indicted on a charge of felony reckless or negligent injury to a child in September and was placed on the exempt list days after that, but he pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of Class A misdemeanor reckless assault at his pretrial hearing in Montgomery County, Texas on Nov. 4. Almost two weeks later, he remains on the exempt list, which forces him to stay away from the Vikings’ facility, but he continues to get paid his $11.75 million base salary. He has missed the Vikings’ last nine games.
Peterson’s plea came with a fine of $4,000, 80 hours of community service (half of which will be served with a public service announcement), probation and potential parenting classes.
Peterson admitted to a grand jury in the summer of disciplining one of his 4-year-old sons with a wooden switch.
Vikings players said after he pleaded no contest that they would welcome him back to the locker room.
“We all know the kind of person he is. We’ve stood behind him this whole time,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said. “You’d be crazy not to welcome him back into that locker room. It would be a big pickup for this locker room being we have so many young guys. Anytime you can have a veteran back in that locker room, the leader that he is in the locker room, out on the practice field, would be huge for us.
“Guys have chatted amongst each other and I don’t think there’s anyone in that locker room that would need to hear from him. We all know the kind of person Adrian is and I feel like he’s proven that over his time here.”
The NFL requested that Peterson submit “relevant information” regarding his case, but upon acceptance of Peterson’s plea Judge Kelly Case sealed the court file, and attorneys involved in the case don’t believe they can legally submit information to the NFL because of that.
Peterson issued a lengthy statement on Sunday morning criticizing the NFL for saying that he skipped a meeting with league officials on Friday concerning potential discipline when he is removed from the exempt list.
“The report that I backed out of a meeting with the NFL is just not true. When Roger Goodell’s office asked that I attend the ‘hearing’ on Friday, I consulted with my union and learned that this ‘hearing’ was something new and inconsistent with the CBA,” Peterson said in the statement issued by the NFL Players Association. “On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this past week, my union sent emails, letters, and had conversations with his office on my behalf asking about the nature of the hearing, how it was to occur, who would participate, and its purpose. We repeatedly asked them to respond quickly to my questions because I want to cooperate and get back on the field, but they didn’t respond until late Wednesday evening, and even then they didn’t answer important questions about their proposed ‘hearing.’
“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. At this point, I’ve resolved my matter in the criminal court; I’ve worked to make amends for what I’ve done; I’ve missed most of the season, and I stand ready to be candid and forthcoming with Mr. Goodell about what happened. However, I will not allow the NFL to impose a new process of discipline on me, ignore the CBA, ignore the deal they agreed to with me, and behave without fairness or accountability. The process they are pushing is arbitrary, inconsistent, and contrary to what they agreed to do, and for those reasons, I never agreed to the hearing.
“I’m sorry for all of this, but I can’t excuse their refusal to be fair.”