Eight days ago, the hearing concluded before arbitrator Harold Henderson in the Adrian Peterson personal conduct policy appeal. To date, no ruling has been issued.
The delay necessarily means that Peterson won’t be available to play for the Vikings on Sunday at Detroit. Even if Henderson issues a Friday afternoon bad-news dump decision clearing Peterson to return to action, the Vikings would have a hard time putting him back on the field after 14 weeks away from practice and games.
Henderson previously has urged the NFL and NFLPA to try to settle the case. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFLPA made a proposal last week, and the NFL has not yet responded.
The labor deal requires a decision from Henderson “as soon as practicable.” It’s unclear why he has needed eight days and counting to decide the fairly narrow questions of: (1) whether Peterson would receive credit for games missed on paid leave; (2) whether the new domestic violence policy would apply to Peterson retroactively; and/or (3) whether the punishment was excessive in light of past precedent.
Peterson continues to be paid while awaiting a decision from Henderson. Which would likely cause the NFL to say Peterson isn’t losing anything by not being permitting to play. Which continues to be one of the most confounding and erroneous aspects of the league’s belief that paid leave doesn’t constitute discipline.
Of course paid leave is discipline when it comes to a professional football player. Professional football players want to play football.
Some (like me) believe that a decision was made weeks ago that Peterson won’t be playing football again in 2014. The events of the past several weeks (and of the next 16 days) may simply be the means to a predetermined end that has created a significant competitive disadvantage for a Vikings team that has generated a 6-7 record without the benefit of Peterson’s services — but that has carried his salary and cap number all season long.