Peterson appeal denied, legal action considered

BY foxsports • December 12, 2014

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Suspended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will miss the remainder of this season after his appeal of the NFL's suspension was denied by Harold Henderson.

Henderson, a former league employee, affirmed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's discipline for Peterson, who has missed all but one game this season after he was indicted on charges of injury to a child. Peterson later agreed to a plea bargain in the case and was fined and ordered to fulfill community service.

The NFL suspended Peterson for the rest of the season, stating he isn't eligible for reinstatement until April 15, 2015. Peterson had been paid while on the commissioner's exempt list for the past 14 weeks. Peterson will still forfeit six game checks this season, according to the NFL, despite just three games remaining in the season.

"I reject the argument that placement in Commissioner Exempt status is discipline," Henderson wrote in his report of the appeal. "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."

After the ruling by Henderson, the NFL Players Association said it will seek legal action against the league.

"The NFLPA expected this outcome, given the hearing officer's relationship and financial ties to the NFL," the NFLPA said in a statement. "The decision itself ignores the facts, the evidence and the collective bargaining agreement. 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."

Peterson, the Vikings' all-time leading rusher and the 2012 NFL MVP, ran for 75 yards in the season opener before he was charged. Peterson, 29, has 10,190 yards in eight NFL seasons with Minnesota, which made him the No. 7 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma.

He was charged in September for injuring his 4-year-old son while disciplining the boy with a switch.

Peterson pleaded no contest to the charges in November and was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and related court costs, and serve 80 hours of community service. As part of a plea agreement, Peterson is on a two-year probationary period.

"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," Henderson wrote.

Even though the union will likely take legal action in support of Peterson, his season is likely over because of the timing of the proceedings.

Rookie Jerick McKinnon had been the primary replacement for Peterson in rushing for a team-high 538 yards. But McKinnon was placed on injured reserve last week and will miss the rest of the regular season.

The Vikings will go into the season's final three games with Matt Asiata, Joe Banyard and Ben Tate at running back.

Peterson will be 30 before next season and will count $15.4 million against Minnesota's salary cap. He has three more seasons remaining on the six-year, $86.28 million contract he signed before the 2011 season making him the league's highest-paid running back.

If the Vikings decided to release Peterson before next season, he would count only for $2.4 million in dead money against the salary cap.

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