The NFL has confirmed that Adrian Peterson, who was indicted on a charge of injury to a child for striking his 4-year-old son, could be disciplined under the league’s personal-conduct policy.
“This will be reviewed under the NFL’s personal conduct policy,” the league said in a brief statement.
Unfortunately, the Ray Rice fiasco has eliminated any trust anyone ever had that the NFL is capable of a competent review of player misconduct. The NFL failed miserably both with its initial two-game suspension of Rice, and with its inability to acquire the infamous elevator video. Until the NFL makes drastic changes to its policies for reviewing personal-conduct violations, there will be zero public trust that the league will get it right with Peterson.
In the short term, the Vikings have taken it upon themselves to deactivate Peterson on Sunday. That opens a whole other can of worms, about why some teams claim they can’t discipline a player without “due process,” while other teams deactivate players immediately if they are arrested or charged with crimes. And it raises some further questions facing the Vikings: Will they keep Peterson inactive unless and until he’s acquitted? Will they allow him to play the rest of the season with this charge hanging over his head? Will they release Peterson, an idea that would have been unthinkable just 24 hours ago?
We don’t know that, and we don’t know what the NFL’s investigation of the Peterson case will entail. But it’s unlikely to have an outcome that makes the NFL look good.