The NFL suspended embattled Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson without pay on Tuesday morning for the rest of the football season.
The Vikings initially deactivated Peterson when reports that he allegedly beat his 4-year-old son with a tree branch surfaced in September. Earlier this month, he pleaded no contest to reckless assault charges in order to avoid jail time for child abuse. He never denied striking his son. By pleading no contest to a lesser charge, the multi-millionaire had a finding over his guilt deferred for two years.
“The NFL has informed the Vikings of today’s decision regarding Adrian Peterson. We respect the league’s decision and will have no further comment at this time,” the team said in a statement.
The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) plans to appeal Peterson’s suspension and demand that a neutral arbitrator oversee the process.
“The decision by the NFL to suspend Adrian Peterson is another example of the credibility gap that exists between the agreements they make and the actions they take. Since Adrian’s legal matter was adjudicated, the NFL has ignored their obligations and attempted to impose a new and arbitrary disciplinary proceeding,” NFLPA said in a statement.
The association is calling on NFL management to commit to collective bargaining for the implementation of a fair personal conduct policy.
The league continues to reel from the fallout of domestic abuse scandals. Former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely in September for knocking his future wife unconscious in a New Jersey hotel elevator in February.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is facing mounting pressure from both fans and legislators to resign for previously failing to suspend Rice when initial details of the domestic violence case were revealed. Former FBI director Robert Mueller is conducting an ongoing investigation into the league’s handling of the Rice affair.
The NFL is working to revise current policies on sexual assault and domestic violence.