NFL release on Adrian Peterson’s suspension without pay

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Here’s the text of the league’s release regarding the suspension of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was notified today that he has been suspended without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 NFL season, and will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15, for violating the NFL Personal Conduct Policy in an incident of abusive discipline that he inflicted on his four-year-old son last May. Peterson pled no contest on November 4 in state court in Montgomery County, Texas to reckless assault of the child.

In a letter to Peterson, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision. Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement.  You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy.”

Under Article 46 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Peterson may appeal the decision by giving written notice to the commissioner within three business days. If he appeals, a hearing will be scheduled promptly, at which he may be represented by counsel of his choice and by the NFLPA and at which he will have the opportunity to present evidence in support of his appeal. If he appeals, Peterson will remain on the Exempt List and continue to be paid pending a decision.

In modifying the NFL Personal Conduct Policy August 28, Commissioner Goodell established a baseline discipline of a suspension without pay for six games for certain offenses, including a first offense of assault, battery, or domestic violence.  He also identified aggravating circumstances that would warrant higher levels of discipline. In his letter, Commissioner Goodell identified several aggravating circumstances present in this case:

“First, the injury was inflicted on a child who was only four years old.  The difference in size and strength between you and the child is significant, and your actions clearly caused physical injury to the child.  While an adult may have a number of options when confronted with abuse – to flee, to fight back, or to seek help from law enforcement – none of those options is realistically available to a four-year old child.  Further, the injury inflicted on your son includes the emotional and psychological trauma to a young child who suffers criminal physical abuse at the hands of his father.

“Second, the repetitive use of a switch in this instance is the functional equivalent of a weapon, particularly in the hands of someone with the strength of an accomplished professional athlete.

“Third, you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct.  When indicted, you acknowledged what you did but said that you would not ‘eliminate whooping my kids’ and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child’s mother. You also said that you felt ‘very confident with my actions because I know my intent.’ These comments raise the serious concern that you do not fully appreciate the seriousness of your conduct, or even worse, that you may feel free to engage in similar conduct in the future.”

On November 6, the NFL requested that Peterson and the NFL Players Association furnish a range of information that would be relevant to evaluating Peterson’s conduct under the Personal Conduct Policy.  No information was provided beyond some of the court papers relating to his November 4 plea agreement. This request was reiterated on November 11. Although there were several additional exchanges of correspondence between the NFL and NFLPA, no further information was provided, other than the name of a professional with whom Peterson has consulted during the past two months.

Peterson was advised on November 11 that a hearing had been scheduled for November 14 to review his case and to allow him or his representatives, as well as the NFLPA, to offer their views and present information on the question of discipline under the Personal Conduct Policy. The NFL then was advised that neither Peterson nor the NFLPA would participate in the hearing scheduled for November 14. The NFL offered to hold the hearing the following day, but was told that date was similarly unacceptable.

Under the Personal Conduct Policy, a deferred adjudication of the kind entered in Montgomery County establishes a basis for imposing discipline. In addition, many prior decisions confirm that the judgment entered with Peterson’s consent is entirely sufficient to find that he violated the Personal Conduct Policy.

“Your plea agreement in Texas, and the related violation of the Personal Conduct Policy, arise out of abusive injuries that you inflicted on your son earlier this year,” Commissioner Goodell said in his letter. “Based on public reports of your statements and photographs that were made public at the time of the indictment, you used a ‘switch’ – a flexible tree branch – to punish your son, striking him in the ankles, limbs, back, buttocks, and genitals, leaving visible swelling, marks, and cuts on his body and risking severe and long-term damage. The visible injuries were such that a local pediatrician in Minnesota, upon examining your son, felt obligated to make a child abuse report to the police. According to contemporaneous media reports, police and medical examiners termed the cuts as ‘extensive’ and as ‘clinically diagnostic of child physical abuse.’ Based on the severity of those injuries, a grand jury made up of citizens of Montgomery County, Texas, voted to indict you on a felony charge, reflecting their belief that there was reasonable cause to conclude that you had overstepped the bounds of acceptable corporal punishment and engaged in physical abuse of your child. Moreover, it appears that this is not the first time that you have punished children in this way. Public statements attributed to you indicate that you believe that this kind of discipline is appropriate and that you do not intend to stop disciplining your children this way.”

Commissioner Goodell’s decision includes mechanisms to ensure, insofar as possible, that there will be no repetition of this conduct. Peterson was directed to meet with Dr. April Kuchuk, an instructor in the NYU Department of Psychiatry and a forensic consultant to the New York City District Attorney’s offices and New York courts, by December 1. After this meeting, Dr. Kuchuk will design a program of counseling, therapy, and community service as appropriate, which will be shared with the commissioner and NFLPA. Peterson will be expected to adhere to that program. Dr. Kuchuk will report any failure to do so to the commissioner and NFLPA.

On Sunday, Peterson made Dr. Cynthia Winston, a professor of psychology at Howard University, available to meet with Dr. Kuchuk to discuss the case. Dr. Winston advised that she was contacted by an attorney representing Peterson to conduct an assessment and that she has met with him in connection with this matter. Dr. Winston, a respected academic and practicing psychologist, advised Dr. Kuchuk that she does not have a background in child abuse or in assessing or treating victims or perpetrators of child abuse.

Dr. Kuchuk has informed the NFL she believes it is essential for her to meet with Peterson personally to review his counseling and other therapeutic work to date. Dr. Kuchuk states that two evidence-based forms of therapy have been shown to contribute to reducing the risk of future abusive behavior in child abuse cases: first, therapy that addresses parenting your children, in particular those who do not live with you, using a modality called parent-child interactive therapy; and second, cognitive-behavioral therapy that teaches the effects of abusive behavior on children and how it traumatizes them. Dr. Kuchuk’s understanding is that Dr. Winston does not provide these types of cognitive and behavioral therapies.

Commissioner Goodell encouraged Peterson to take advantage of the counseling and other resources available to his son through NFL Player Assistance and Counseling Services.

“The well-being of your children is of paramount concern,” Commissioner Goodell wrote. “In the absence of speaking to you to understand your current disposition toward child discipline, we cannot be sure that this conduct will not be repeated.  Moreover, we are unaware of any effort on your part to acknowledge the seriousness of your conduct and your responsibility to demonstrate a genuine commitment to change.

“In order to assess your progress going forward, I will establish periodic reviews, the first of which will be on or about April 15, 2015. At that time, I will meet with you and your representatives and the NFLPA to review the extent to which you have complied with your program of counseling and therapy and both made and lived up to an affirmative commitment to change such that this conduct will not occur again. A failure to cooperate and follow your plan will result in a lengthier suspension without pay.”

Peterson also is required to adhere to all conditions imposed on him by the Montgomery County Court as part of his plea agreement and deferred adjudication. If he fails to adhere to any of those conditions, he is obligated to promptly report that failure to the commissioner, who may elect to impose further discipline.

“It is imperative that you to avoid any incident of this kind in the future,” Commissioner Goodell stated in his letter. “Any further violation of the Personal Conduct Policy will result in additional discipline and may subject you to banishment from the NFL.”

69 responses to “NFL release on Adrian Peterson’s suspension without pay

  1. I am glad Goodell cares about the way another man disciplines his kids because he surely doesnt care about the product being put on the field anyway.

    This is a kin to his negligence of head injuries. He wants to make it seem like he cares, but he really doesnt.

  2. The NFL has mishandled a few disciplinary actions in the recent past. However, in this case it seems that Goodell has administered the appropriate consequences for AP’s egregious actions.

    Violence against innocent toddlers is abhorrent. I hope and pray the cycle of abuse in AP’s family ends with this situation.

  3. Again, there is nothing in there that I don’t agree with. But I believe this is just a way to make sure that they (the NFL and Vikings) do not have to deal with the negative pushback from sponsors, and fans until the season concludes.

    I am a Viking fan and at this point do not care whether he suits up for the purple again, but I do think he has been given a moving target to get reinstated and that is wrong.

  4. It’s literally unbelievable that football thinks they are above the law, and think that they should sentence somebody greater than the criminal justice system.

    Ray Rice and AP should both be reinstated immediately, and then if a team chooses to employ them, that is their decision.

    I won’t spend another penny on the NFL again.

  5. What do you know, a well reasoned and reasonable plan for Peterson’s rehabilatation coming from the NFL.

    Who’d a’thunk it.

  6. This is a complete joke. First you are saying you are better than due process and force the man not to work. Then you suspend him the last 6 weeks of the season for what the courts deemed a misdemeanor charge. Goodell is starting to look like a dictator with no regard to due process or what the local courts say.

  7. NFL is a joke! He gets suspended with pay and now the rest of the season with out pay! Why pay him at the beginning? He did his time went the through the courts and did his time! On top of that he is now doing counselling! Gooddell has to go as commissioner as he is not worth the millions of dollars as commissioner and has failed the NFL and it’s fans tremendously!

  8. “Third, you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct. When indicted, you acknowledged what you did but said that you would not ‘eliminate whooping my kids’ and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child’s mother. You also said that you felt ‘very confident with my actions because I know my intent.’ These comments raise the serious concern that you do not fully appreciate the seriousness of your conduct, or even worse, that you may feel free to engage in similar conduct in the future.”

    This.

  9. conormacleod says:
    Nov 18, 2014 9:06 AM
    It’s literally unbelievable that football thinks they are above the law, and think that they should sentence somebody greater than the criminal justice system.

    ——————–

    The NFL has a financial obligation to ensure that their employees do not tarnish the NFL brand.

    Punishment from the NFL arises as a deterrent to damage the brand, not necessarily as a corrective measure for the individual.

    And as a business, they have every right to ensure that an idiot employee doesn’t cost them future revenue.

  10. If you were going to suspend him….why wait until applied for re-instatement after 9 weeks on the Commissioners exempt list? Why not suspend him from the begining? None of the NFL’s actions make any sense. No logic involved. I’m mean, for god sakes, you almost let him come back week 2. It’s not even about what he did anymore. Get rid of Goodell as long as you’re holding people accountable for their actions.

  11. Whats wrong with him saying he’ll continue to whoop his kids?

    He didn’t say switch, he said whoop. As long as a switch or another weapon besides your basic paddle is involved, whats the problem?

  12. Please fire Goodell. What a pompous ass.

    It took 2 grand jury’s to convict and you can thank ray rice for that.

    The District attorney was grandstanding and charged much higher. To get a plea deal.

    Otherwise peterson would have fought and won.

  13. NFL doesn’t run by laws but the players do,,,,,,,,,the problem is this law changes by the day.

    Let’s be honest, Radisson Hotels and the other cash run the NFL. Owners are about money and nothing else.

  14. The NFL is really just making it up as they good, and most fans are going to get caught up in their emotions and go along with it.
    When the best athletes choose to play in other sports that offer: guaranteed contracts, a normal life after playing and a reasonable system of rules and negotiations we can all look back at this and note when to NFL started to crumble.

  15. I bet this is all $ driven. If AD wasn’t paid during his “time served” I bet he’d be reinstated. I wonder if, during the appeal, he’ll have the opportunity to pay back 6 game checks.

  16. Just wait when the day comes it is a player on your team that made a mistake. This precedence sets a whole new set of rules. GODell is a controlling, scared, and looking out for his job. Coward.

  17. >>How is this decision corrective in nature in order to help the victim?<<

    The child has already been damaged, perhaps permanently. This action serves as the league's punishment and perhaps will deter Peterson and others from this kind of conduct. The fact that Peterson was so proud of this type of "discipline" speaks volumes about his character.

  18. I am familiar with Dr. Kuchuk’s form of “therapy” which is based upon the belief that any corporal punishment is bad. It is “Rogerian” in form and is ridiculed by most people as “Tell me how you feel” interaction. Dr Kuchuk is considered a “Prosecutors” Doctor. and one that will never condone a spanking in any way shape or form. Odd choice for the extremely physical NFL to chose and I personally believe designed to assure Peterson’s failure.

    This is not even close to being a logical or FAIR demand given the NFL is now involving itself into the personal parenting of a players children. We have State Departments of Children services all across the country and courts that do that. the NFL is overstepping its authority by dictating the method of child rearing by forcing this Dr. Kuchuk’s “modality” upon Peterson and opens a dangerous precedent for every other player in the NFL.the method VERY DANGEROUS and guaranteed to be a Players Association grievance and future Contract issue.

    NFL is way way overboard in this penalty.

  19. “It’s literally unbelievable that football thinks they are above the law, and think that they should sentence somebody greater than the criminal justice system.”

    That’s funny. Playing for the NFL is a privilege not a right. Employers can and do impose rules above and beyond the rules of the land on their employees. If an employee does not want to abide by those rules then he simply doesn’t work for that employer. In a nutshell the NFL can and does make up their own rules. If players don’t want to abide by those rules don’t play in the NFL. It is real simple.
    Sorry that your favorite player turned out to be a scumbag child abuser. Just think, next season you can buy his jersey from the next team he plays for.

  20. Who the hell is the NFL to tell anyone how to discipline their children?

    Peterson went overboard in his punishment, but spanking aren’t inherently wrong or harmful.

    And the NFL is definitely NOT the organization to determine what kind of punishment is acceptable for a parent to apply to their child.

    They the DCFS now?

  21. Brown sugar- what Peterson did wasn’t legally considered spanking. It was an assault on a child with a weapon. Let that sink in for a minute. Since when does a spanking draw significant amounts of blood? The NFL isn’t telling AP how to parent. It’s telling him not to commit aggravated assault on a child.

  22. Thank you moral police. The NFL considers itself more powerful and more competent than the law of the land. More than a sporting organization, they are the conscience and voice that is more right than any other system including the way our constitution was written.

    Take them down somebody. They are planning on moving the league to Europe or China or where ever the money is anyway.

  23. The NFL has the right to discipline any employee including players, owners or front office staff if their actions, even if off the field can be seen as damaging the reputation of the league.

    Just like your boss can fire you if you get a DUI even though you were not “on the clock”

  24. jeff91121 says:
    Nov 18, 2014 9:47 AM
    “It’s literally unbelievable that football thinks they are above the law, and think that they should sentence somebody greater than the criminal justice system.”

    That’s funny. Playing for the NFL is a privilege not a right.
    ————————————-
    This is a mute argument. “Working” in the U.S. is a privilege, in any occupation. But, the capricious and arbitrary actions of the NFL is but one example of why we have unions in this country.

    Could the Vikings cut him, just like the Ravens did to Ray Rice? Absolutely. Because you just told us, you don’t have a right to work in the NFL. But, a league and all teams getting together to agree to not employ an employee, or to suspend a person without pay, and make up rules as you go along, is an issue that does violate certain collective bargaining agreements.

    So, this isn’t an issue of his right to work for the NFL. It’s an issue of a lengthy unpaid suspension that goes against the CBA.

  25. Ex post facto laws:

    Ex post facto laws retroactively change the rules of evidence in a criminal case, retroactively alter the definition of a crime, retroactively increase the punishment for a criminal act, or punish conduct that was legal when committed. They are prohibited by Article I, Section 10, Clause 1, of the U.S. Constitution. An ex post facto law is considered a hallmark of tyranny because it deprives people of a sense of what behavior will or will not be punished and allows for random punishment at the whim of those in power.

  26. lardin says:
    Nov 18, 2014 10:21 AM
    The NFL has the right to discipline any employee including players, owners or front office staff if their actions, even if off the field can be seen as damaging the reputation of the league.

    Just like your boss can fire you if you get a DUI even though you were not “on the clock”
    ——————————–
    Except, that’s not what is happening here. Let’s pretend you’re an Accountant, under a contract to your firm. You get a DUI. Your boss not only suspends you without pay, but he makes an agreement with all other firms in the world that you are not allowed to be an Accountant for them either.

    Basically, your accounting firm has told you that you must sit tight, unemployed, until next April, and then they will call you and let you know if you can ever work as an Accountant again.

  27. Ex post facto laws:

    “Ex post facto laws retroactively change the rules of evidence in a criminal case, retroactively alter the definition of a crime, retroactively increase the punishment for a criminal act, or punish conduct that was legal when committed. They are prohibited by Article I, Section 10, Clause 1, of the U.S. Constitution. An ex post facto law is considered a hallmark of tyranny because it deprives people of a sense of what behavior will or will not be punished and allows for random punishment at the whim of those in power.”

    Cool story, call me up when this applies to a private organization.

  28. Let me try to understand this : Peterson will be placed on the NFL Exempt List while he appeals this decision, which means while he appeals it, he will still be paid ?? So how does this work Pay or no Pay, I’m a lot confused ?? We all know he’s going to appeal it !!!!! Another dumb NFL rule which means crap !!!!! Bye Bye Goodall !!!!!!

  29. As a parent who used corporal punishment in raising my sons (now 3 grown men–who are all college grads, married, and never been in trouble in their lives) I do believe Peterson went too far. Using a switch, belt, or hand is not wrong or excessive; however, the duration, strength, and timing are. Also, never should the punishment bring forth any blood. That is not only excessive, it is abusive. A late cousin of mine used this expression: “It is definitely alright to pat your child on the back, just make sure it is low enough and hard enough.” To that I add: “And never let it become excessive or abusive.” I hope all parents understand that corporal punishment is not wrong, abusive and excessive punishment is.

  30. lardin says:
    Nov 18, 2014 10:21 AM
    The NFL has the right to discipline any employee including players, owners or front office staff if their actions, even if off the field can be seen as damaging the reputation of the league.

    Just like your boss can fire you if you get a DUI even though you were not “on the clock”

    ———————————————————–

    I spent many moons in Administration and your are right amundo. Hell the military can kick you out if you run up a bad credit rating and fail to pay your bills. One union I was in gave us a sheet of things that if we did them, forget it. Were on our own.

  31. Just having trouble processing the fact that this type of punishment was made to a 4 yr old. A child that hasn’t really started school as yet … what kind of trouble could he have made to deserve the type of punishment he received.

    There’s really no justification for this, if this occurred in Canada or any socially responsible country, Adrian would be doing so time for his actions.

    Too bad, he was one of the best to carry the rock … but so was OJ.

  32. Well the next time a player is accused of any crime, you can bet your house on them refusing to accept being placed on the Commish List.

    This is going to get very ugly for the NFL. It is obvious that they pushed this beyond the Vikings tenth game, just so Peterson can be prevented from returning to the field this season.

    They also have made assumptions in their statement, and seemingly consider themselves above the law. The fact that this (admittedly horrible) incident took place much earlier in the year, the NFL have ajudicated this based on the new policy they created in August.

    This will get appealed, the NFL will be forced to remove Peterson from the Commish List, and Peterson will play again this season – perhaps even this Sunday.

    By suspending without pay rather than fining salary for time served, the NFL has opened themselves up to employment laws that will favour Peterson.

  33. What everyone is missing is that Goodell changed the Personal Conduct Policy on August 28.

    This incident occurred in May, was reported to the team and NFL back then, and nothing came of it. Even the first Grand Jury declined to indict.

    Two weeks later, it comes to light and everything changes.

  34. “It’s literally unbelievable that football thinks they are above the law, and think that they should sentence somebody greater than the criminal justice system.”

    Who says they are above the law? Keep in mind, people scream for PED suspensions in professional sports even though there are a LOT of things on the banned substance list that are perfectly legal for anyone outside of professional sports to take.

    If someone told me I could work for millions of dollars as long as I didn’t take certain drugs and didn’t beat the living daylights out of 4 year old children, I would find a way to live my life without taking certain drugs and without beating up defenseless children. Seems like a pretty easy decision.

    The NFL has every right to protect their brand. Also, just because he pleaded no contest and took a plea deal does not mean he is not guilty of the act itself–it is just a technicality. Would he feel better if he was convicted of a felony? Either way, the act itself is the same.

  35. good good. i like the decision. people have to suffer the consequences of their act. let’s move on from now. have AP do whatever the course of the legal actions is, then come back and play (if eligible) then will continue from there…

  36. conormacleod says: Nov 18, 2014 9:07 AM

    Answer me one question, AP haters…

    How is this decision corrective in nature in order to help the victim?
    ————————————————–
    If you read the article, AP has to learn how to properly discipline his children, not beat them! He has to actually go to therapy and think about what he did and why it is wrong. So, next time his child does appropriate childlike behavior he isn’t beaten by a huge monster.
    That is how!!!!!

  37. When news of what Petersen did was made public I believed he should have been fired by the Vikings and not signed by another team and prosecuted by the courts. What he did was vile and reprehensible. That said, Goodell’s statement that “the well-being of your children is of paramount concern” is just more marketing spin from the commissioner’s office. They don’t care about the kids, the wives, or the family units, and they certainly don’t care about the health of retired players. They care about the NFL’s bottom-line, how the NFL is perceived (mostly by sponsors but also by their customers), and maintaining hegemony over the players. Do you think anyone from the NFL has even spoken to the child or the mother of the child?

  38. Was this a judge sentence, or the CEO of an organization who shouldn’t really care about his employees personal life outside of his employment?

  39. Personal conduct policies are fine, and the NFL should have strict ones, no problem.

    But it’s a slippery slope for the NFL to first say they’ll let the courts work their magic, then to reneg on that in order to satisfy a disillusioned, fickle public.

    While Goodell is releasing this statement, he should also be announcing the real, true, yes-we’ll-abide-by-these league guidelines for how to handle domestic abuse cases. Because they announced them once then immediately disregarded them.

    Let the players understand the repercussions of their actions as soon as possible. Take that stand, regardless of what the public thinks.

    That way, the next time this happens no one will be surprised, and no one will be left in limbo.

  40. I believe Petersen should be in jail but it amazes me how so many “conservative” football fans (who think government is too large and powerful) believe corporations should have even more power over their workers. The Vikings have the right to fire Petersen. Why did they not exercise that right? It wasn’t to protect the “kids”; all of their actions have been to protect their pocketbook and their control over players who they treat like they own.

  41. jammer73 says: Nov 18, 2014 9:05 AM

    Say goodbye to AP Vikes fans. He’s played his last game as a Viking and won’t be back next season. LOL!>/I>
    ============================

    I certainly hope you are right, though if I had my way, he wouldn’t be back next season playing for ANYONE!

    Child abusers should not be allowed in the NFL…..EVER!!!

  42. Suspension will hold here…the video stands regardless of what Goodell did or said. Enough with technicalities, at what point are those men to be held accountable for their actions?

  43. NFL just makes it up as they. if the public doesn’t like what they do they’ll just change it even if they need to omit a truth here and there.

    I don’t think it’s an out of line punishment. he pled guilty to charge that was not in line with the NFLs conduct policy.

  44. conormacleod says:
    Nov 18, 2014 10:34 AM
    lardin says:
    Nov 18, 2014 10:21 AM
    The NFL has the right to discipline any employee including players, owners or front office staff if their actions, even if off the field can be seen as damaging the reputation of the league.

    Just like your boss can fire you if you get a DUI even though you were not “on the clock”
    ——————————–
    Except, that’s not what is happening here. Let’s pretend you’re an Accountant, under a contract to your firm. You get a DUI. Your boss not only suspends you without pay, but he makes an agreement with all other firms in the world that you are not allowed to be an Accountant for them either.

    Basically, your accounting firm has told you that you must sit tight, unemployed, until next April, and then they will call you and let you know if you can ever work as an Accountant again.

    Wrong,

    He can go play in canada.

  45. the NFL finally got one right.A plea deal is not a not guilty, its not a decision at all besides Adrian saving face by not getting aired out in public. Pictures don’t lie. We all saw the injuries. I guarantee you that a plea deal would not save you at your job and thankfully it does not void and punishment in the NFL. Getting suspended WITH pay is not punishment any more than any paid vacation is. NOW he got his wish, he is off the exempt list. Congrats Adrian.

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