Adrian Peterson landed on the rabbit-from-a-hat-or-some-other-orifice Commissioner’s exemption list pending the resolution of his legal case. His legal case is now resolved.
The NFL has opted to be aloof and coy regarding Peterson’s status; the timetable is there is no timetable.
That doesn’t cut it. It’s one thing for the NFL to drag its feet during the offseason, when games aren’t being played. It’s quite another for the NFL to take it slow when every Sunday has a full slate of games.
In this specific case, the league got a little lucky. The Vikings don’t play this week. The NFL can take six days to figure out whether to reinstate Peterson or to impose further discipline beyond the eight games he has missed.
The NFL must use that six days to make a decision. It’s not difficult. Get everyone with an interest in the situation together in a room and figure it out.
When Peterson was on track to play in Week Three, the NFL moved quickly to strike a deal that sidelined him. That same urgency should apply now; it’s the right thing to do for the player and for the team. Whatever the outcome, the decision needs to be made quickly. While the league office will be distracted for the next two games with the Ray Rice appeal hearing, the first order of business for Friday should be figuring out what to do with Peterson.
Frankly, the decision already should have been made. Plea bargains happen all the time. The NFL should have realized that a deal was possible for Peterson, and the NFL should have been ready to move with the same speed that applies to any other questions of player availability during the season.
But if the NFL decides that it should take more time because of the precedent that will be set, then reinstate Peterson and let him play until a decision is reached regarding his suspension. Plenty of players play while suspensions are pending under other policies, including the PED policy. If a guy accused of cheating the game can still play until his status is resolved, why shouldn’t Peterson be allowed to play, too?