It would appear the NFL and Adrian Peterson aren’t done with their dispute.
On Tuesday, the NFL Players Association filed a federal suit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league for having “deliberately ignored” a federal court decision from almost four months ago that said Peterson should have been immediately reinstated instead of being placed back on the Commissioner’s Exempt List.
The union is asking that the NFL be held in civil contempt of court by not acting upon the legal rendering that came down in February in a Minneapolis court.
On Feb. 26, U.S. District Court Judge David Doty in Minneapolis, who has a long track record of ruling against the NFL when its workplace policies are put under the microscope of the legal system, ruled that Peterson’s suspension was excessive and not in keeping with the policies of the collective bargaining agreement that has been in place since 2011.
In a statement released by the NFLPA Tuesday, the union claimed the NFL intentionally did nothing following the court ruling in Peterson’s favor in violation of the rules of the CBA, claiming the league has viewed Doty’s order “as if it were a meaningless scrap of paper” after his verdict was rendered.
“The delay tactics, inconsistencies and arbitrary decision-making of the league has continued to hurt the rights of players, the credibility of the league office and the integrity of the collective bargaining agreement,” the statement said. “In the absence of any action by the NFL’s governing board of owners, the players have acted to hold the NFL accountable to our players, the CBA and to the law.”
In response, the NFL released a statement of its own, saying, “There is no basis for the union’s action. The district court’s decision on Adrian Peterson is on appeal in the Eighth Circuit. In the meantime, Mr. Peterson was reinstated more than a month ago and he may fully participate in team activities. The remaining disciplinary issue concerns the amount of 2014 pay to be forfeited by Mr. Peterson and that issue is presently before the Court of Appeals.”
In the 24-page complaint, the NFLPA said that the recent ruling of a 10-game suspension of Greg Hardy for domestic violence as the impetus for the civil contempt filing. Both Peterson and Hardy were punished under a disciplinary outline that didn’t exist when the incident took place. It was only after video of Ray Rice knocking out his fiancée that the domestic abuse policy underwent a dramatic change from the suspension policy that had been collectively bargained.
The NFL has defended itself by stating that the case is under appeal, briefs are being filed and that a hearing on the appeal has yet to be scheduled.
In the end, Tuesday’s filing of the contempt allegation in federal court has little to do with Peterson himself. He’s been reinstated and, as far as his punishment from the league is concerned, he’s been released on time served. The reason for the filing was to gain leverage against the NFL for future cases.
About the only thing that is certain is that when the next CBA comes up, there will likely be a lot more contentious issues than there were in the hastily approved current CBA. Getting another court ruling in its favor would give the union more leverage, even though Peterson is in the middle of it in name only.
NFLPA still fighting NFL on Peterson case
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