Peterson appeal denied, RB remains suspended

An NFL appeals officer upheld Adrian Peterson’s suspension on Friday, meaning the original suspension until “at least” April 15 remains intact.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson remains suspended for the remainder of the 2014 season after NFL appeals officer Harold Henderson upheld Peterson’s suspension on Friday.

The NFL suspended Peterson on Nov. 18 for “at least” the rest of the 2014 season. Per the original terms of his suspension, Peterson is eligible for reinstatement on April 15. The NFL originally handed down the suspension saying Peterson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy stemming from his child abuse case in Texas and Henderson’s decision affirmed the NFL’s ruling. Peterson was indicted on a felony charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child in September and pleaded no contest to a less charge of misdemeanor reckless assault on Nov. 4.

“The player entered a plea which effectively admitted guilt to a criminal charge of child abuse, after inflicting serious injury to his 4-year-old son in the course of administering discipline,” Henderson wrote in his decision. “No direct evidence of the beating was entered in the record here, but numerous court documents, investigative reports, photographs and news reports, all accepted into evidence without objection, make it clear that Mr. Peterson’s conduct was egregious and aggravated as those terms are used in the Policy, and merits substantial discipline.

“His public comments do not reflect remorse or appreciation for the seriousness of his actions and their impact on his family, community, fans and the NFL, although at the close of the hearing he said he has learned from his mistake, he regrets that it happened and it will never happen again. I reject the argument that placement in Commissioner Exempt status is discipline. 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.”

Peterson remained on the Commissioner’s Exempt List during the appeals process, meaning he continued to be paid during that time. But with a six-game suspension handed down, Peterson will now forfeit six game checks from the 2014 season.

Peterson’s suspension could be challenged in federal court after the NFL Players Association, working on behalf of Peterson, requested that Henderson recuse himself given his long association with the NFL. He declined to do that.

“The NFLPA expected this outcome, given the hearing officer’s relationship and financial ties to the NFL. The decision itself ignores the facts, the evidence and the collective bargaining agreement,” the players union said in a statement. “This decision also represents the NFL’s repeated failure to adhere to due process and confirms its inconsistent treatment of players. Our union is considering immediate legal remedies.”

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