Minnesota Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson will be suspended three games for the second time in three seasons after the NFL upheld his suspension for a November DWI.
Simpson, 28, met with Harold Henderson, a hearing officer for the league, last week in New York hoping the three-game suspension could be reduced or eliminated, but the NFL has upheld the suspension for violating the NFL Policy and Programs of Subtances of Abuse, according to a release from a league spokesman.
The wide receiver will not be paid and will be eligible to return to the Vikings’ active roster Monday, Sept. 22.
Simpson, who was third on the team in receiving last year, was arrested for suspicion of DWI last November and refused to take a DWI test. Simpson pleaded guilty in January to careless driving and a third-degree DWI for refusal to submit to a DWI test.
"I just told them the truth," Simpson said last week of his meeting with Henderson. "Told them the truth. The records and the facts show what happened."
According to the Minnesota State Patrol in November, Simpson’s red Dodge Charger was stalled in a lane of Interstate Highway 394 and Simpson was given field sobriety tests. He later refused a breathalyzer test. He said he had been at the Pour House, a local Minneapolis establishment but denied he’d been drinking. A state trooper said he had watery eyes and slightly slurred speech.
"Our argument was that if he would have taken the test, he would have passed it," New York by attorney David Valentini told FoxSportsNorth.com last week.
Valentini said that Simpson consulted a Kentucky lawyer, who advised him to refuse the test. Valentini believes Simpson shouldn’t be suspended "under the totality" of the evidence in the case, which includes Simpson refusing the test as well as the misdemeanor charge of careless driving.
It will be the second time Simpson has been suspended in his three years with Minnesota. The Vikings signed Simpson in 2012 following a drug conviction when a marijuana shipment was tracked to his home.
Simpson spent 15 days in jail in 2011 after a 2 1/2-pound shipment of marijuana was delivered to his home. He was later suspended for three games to start the 2012 season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy for the drug charges.
Simpson, who had 48 catches and 726 receiving yards last season, re-signed with the team in the offseason on a one-year, $1 million deal, his third consecutive one-year contract with Minnesota.