NFLPA files suit challenging Peterson suspension

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As expected, the NFL Players Association has filed a lawsuit challenging Friday’s decision to uphold the suspension imposed on Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

The 74-page document, filed in Minneapolis federal court, does not request that the suspension be lifted while the litigation is pending.  While a separate motion for preliminary injunction and/or request for a temporary restraining order could be filed, a league source previously told PFT that Peterson has decided not to force the issue in order to return and play this season.

The goal via the litigation becomes securing reinstatement for Peterson as early as possible in the offseason, so that he’s not required to wait until April 15 for the NFL to revisit his status.  Likewise, Peterson hopes to minimize the number of game checks he’ll lose.

That number currently is six.  The legal action argues that Peterson’s punishment should be only two games.

At some point (possibly today), I’ll pick through the 74 pages in search of specific information, allegations, and/or tidbits of interest.  Until then, here’s the key information:  The NFLPA contends that the suspension reflects a retroactive application of a new policy, that the arbitrator was not impartial, and that the suspension imposes discipline not permitted by the labor deal (e.g., a requirement that Peterson be evaluated by mental health professionals).

Ultimately, the league is getting what it decided that it wanted back in September — Peterson won’t play in 2014.  But that won’t keep the league from fighting this one as hard as it ever does, which means that the league’s lawyers will have even more money to buy their sons the G.I. Joe with the kung fu grip for Christmas.

54 responses to “NFLPA files suit challenging Peterson suspension

  1. If league is only fining him six game checks, why isn’t he back on the field now?

    The way the NFL has handled these two cases (Rice and Peterson) is a reflection of just how inept Roger Goodell has been as commissioner. After sitting out more than half the season with pay, the NFL decides to “suspend” Peterson without pay for the rest of the season? Why NOT take all 15 game checks if that’s the case? But if you’re only going to take six game checks, Peterson should have been reinstated last month.

    No logic to this approach by the league.

  2. AP did wrong and has complied with the courts. (Regardless if we agree with the courts.)

    The NFL continues to look like a bunch of idiots and tries to do whatever they want.

    I sure hope the NFL loses this one.


  3. Good for AP and the NFLPA. The NFL is such a complete joke its past funny and now clearly just sad. They obviously have an argument or they wouldn’t have gone this far, I hope they stick it to Goodell and the idiots running the “business” we call the NFL!


    GO WILD!!

  4. The NFLPA contends that the suspension reflects a retroactive application of a new policy, that the arbitrator was not impartial, and that the suspension imposes discipline not permitted by the labor deal


    Yikes. And yet the “impartial arbitrator” that just happens to be on the NFL’s payroll misses all this and essentially refuses to even acknowledge it. It’ll be interesting to see how a truly nutural third party interprets this. I anticipate an easy win for AP. Hopefully Roger and his buddies are held responsible for once.

  5. I thought the NFL would have been better served in dealing with this issue in a manner that would have resulted in a definite punishment that put it ALL behind them in a timely manner.

    Dragging this out longer– into the 2015 season– Is enough reason for the League Owners to dismiss Goodell… (as if they need any more)

    This is messing with an organization (Vikings) and ther plans moving into 2015… Whether it be in Salary Cap or Roster moves… This punishment has gone WAY past one player/one action.

  6. That April 15th part of the decision is the part that’s always bugged me, as that’s punishing the team by pushing the indecision past free agency and right before the draft. This is another example of Goodell just not thinking things through — or worse, not caring enough to think things through. AP deserved the punishment, but it’s clearer than ever the NFL needs to replace Goodell.

  7. Over the years, I have sided mostly with the league in disagreements between the union. Lately though it has become apparent that the leagues success has gone to Roger’s head. He acts now as if he has to answer to no one, and can ignore the CBA, or any promise he has made. Maybe if the Federal government starts to question the special benefits that have been given to the league, the owners will react and remove Goodell. In my mind, it is time. This league has changed, to the point that it’s only about the dollars. No more loyalty to fans or the players. Only to sponsors and corporate business that purchase luxury boxes.

  8. As NFL fans, we are speechless for the league’s way of disciplining players. Just get rid of football bc Goodell can’t handle things properly. I’m sure he couldn’t handle his wife and or his children the same way he couldn’t handle his job.

  9. The Minnesota Vikings are 6-8 WITHOUT child beating, serial impregnator adrian peterson.

    Imagine what Minnesota could be if they got an offensive line, some quality wide receivers, some quality tight ends, a defensive line, and some linebackers.

  10. Farmbig’s last paragraph gets to the nut of it.

    Can we get rid of Goodell before he further harms the sport (the one that used to be called tackle football)?

  11. So did the other NFL officials know that Troy Vincent went to Houston to meet with Adrian Peterson or did he do that in secret all on his own? Either way is sketchy. I listened to the calls this morning and read the lawsuit filed. All this, “You have my word” and “can I trust you?” and “please don’t tell anyone that” is so sleazy. How can someone in an authority position now claim he wasn’t acting in an authority position? It seems like Troy Vincent is playing both sides of the fence. He forgot he doesn’t work for the union and was trying to get the player back on the field. After finding out Peterson recorded his calls, now he is suddenly concerned about the welfare of Peterson’s children. Either Vincent should have acted transparently in official capacity or he should have stayed completely out of it.

  12. I just read it and here are a few comments:

    1. The complaint is worth reading. It is very well-written. Reading it is not as forbidding as it sounds. The complaint is only 17 pages long. The rest is the supporting brief.

    2. The pleadings crucify Goodell and Harold Henderson, the NFL-chosen arbitrator. They characterize Goodell as a guy with his finger in the air to see which way the wind of public opinion is blowing. They characterize Henderson as a biased tool of the NFL.

    3. The weakness in the pleadings is that the NFLPA goes overboard in trying to minimize Peterson’s conduct as simply corporal punishment:

    a. “Mr. Peterson was involved in a corporal punishment incident with his son..” (p. 7)

    b. “…a specific (and single) incident of
    corporal punishment…” (p. 12)

    c. “…Mr. Peterson’s May 2014 corporal punishment of his son with a switch…” (p. 30)

    d. “…Mr. Peterson’s single act of excessive corporal punishment of his child…” (p. 56)

    The NFL will undoubtedly try to characterize Peterson’s conduct as a brutal beating, not simply corporal punishment.

  13. The problem again is with the NFL’s lack of clarity under the terms in which he can be reinstated. They made it up as they went along and would do the same for the conditions.


  14. The NFL will have a hard time getting the courts to agree that the first six games he sat out could not have been used to meet the terms of the suspension. I would not like to be the poor guy the NFL sends to give testimony for this abortion. How is it that he sits out an entire season for a six game suspension?

  15. If this one fails, their next suit will be on the grounds that “Goodell is a mean old doody-head!!”

  16. I am interested to see how this plays out.

    People keep talking about how Henderson wasn’t impartial, it doesn’t matter, with the personal conduct code there is nothing to say that there needs to be an independent or impartial arbiter.

    While I have no problem with the 6 game suspension and 6 checks being taken, I would’ve preferred that the reinstatement date get moved to the 1st day of the new league season.

  17. Reading the lawsuit and what really stood out was the previous horrible domestic violence incidents that were given one or two or no game suspensions. The NFL did not care at all about this until the Ray Rice video. What Adrian Peterson did is wrong, but he’s paying for the backlash of the Ray Rice embarrassment to the Commissioner.

  18. He’s actually suing because he’s upset that all this time fighting the NFL has taken away valuable child rearing time and his 44 children have suffered irreversible mental harm due to Goodells actions.

  19. Adrian…good luck wherever you play. You were elite in the NFL and I know you were not malicious in treating your children only horribly misinformed on how to raise a child. Your children were hurt it will take years to fix them…BE THERE FOR THEM…football will not define you only the mental health and positive or negative intetactions with you will

  20. But now they have it on tape that a rep of the NFL (Vincent) promised Peterson a 2-game suspension if Peterson went along with the NFL. And who do you think told Vincent to tell Peterson this?

    Goodell is needs to go ASAP.

  21. Good, AP should be treated fairly like Ray Rice! Hope he wins the case and trains hard for the upcoming ’15-’16 season and really turn it up a notch just like his MVP season and put the Vikings on top of the map! SKOL VIKINGS!

  22. One good thing that came out of this season is how inept this offensive line is without Peterson. The Decision to not allow him to come back before April 15th hurts the vikings more that it does Peterson. The fact they had to carry his salary cap the entire season while on the commissioners list is also absurd. The Vikings should demand a draft pick compensation for not having Peterson this year.

  23. Not supporting Peterson at all ,but I hope NFL and Roger take a big beating on this one. They won’t be able to make up new rules as the hearing goes on

  24. The league is going to lose. This is very cut and dry. An employee can not not be punished retro-actively for new policy. It is against federal law. The employee must be aware of the penalty/disciplinary consequences of their actions at the time of the action in order for an employer to enforce said penalty. It is obvious Peterson was not aware, as the current policy simply did not exist when the action took place. He will end up with a 2 game “suspension” and be re-instated as soon as the court case is over. Mind-boggling once again how idiotic the NFL is.

  25. People, this whole thing revolves around something else. Forget the suspension, money, the game checks, moral accountability with regards with DV, the image of how Goodell comes off and jerk he is, etc., etc., etc.

    That thing is POWER.

    Goodell can’t lose this one if he can possibly help it. Remember how long it took for that Star Caps stuff to get resolved. That will be nothing compared to this. This one will be nasty. This is not about AP himself.

  26. This is the sort of punishment you get when you try and police your league by what you’re seeing people say on Twitter. The exact same sort of case will come up again only with a backup nobody knows with the story hitting at a time when it’s overshadowed by other news and Goodell will let the guy off with nothing.

  27. Remember Brent plays for the cowboys makes a big difference in this league who you play for and who is the owner of the team Would never happen to Pats,Giants,Cowboys,Packers

  28. The sadistic beating of a preschooler’s genitals is a very sick form of child molestation.

    Naturally, the employer wants a mental health evaluation to see if the sicko can even function as an employee.

    Molesting children is not something to be tolerated by a child friendly entertainment company.

  29. I don’t care if the NFLPA wins or loses the suit. I just want Peterson to say that he is working on being a better parent to his kids and learning the proper way to discipline them. All he talks about is himself. ” I still made 8 mil this year. I’m making good money in real estate. Maybe I’ll be an Olympian and retire from football”. Right,Adrian…it’s all about you. Can’t stand this guy…

  30. Vikings fans shouldn’t miss him as much as they do. As if it makes a difference, if it is a McKinnon, Asiata, or Peterson’s run getting called back, because of a flag on Kalil.

  31. revren10 says:
    Dec 15, 2014 1:17 PM
    So the nflpa is cool with child abuse, glad they care about kids


    This no longer has anything to do with kids. This is all about how the NFL and Goodell make up everything as the go along, lying and misleading the whole way. Peterson was punished by the courts. (if you do not agree with the courts, I suggest you take up your cause with them)

  32. I hope that Goodell gets his head handed to him by the courts. He has been making it up as he goes and deciding punishments based on public opinion and how he is going to look in the press instead of based on the CBA. I do not in any way condone what Peterson did, but Goodell is way out of line and this indefinite suspension is in no way allowed by the CBA. If Goodell was trying to wait for the whole thing to die down so he could then quietly reinstate Peterson when no one was watching then he sorely misjudged the entire situation.

  33. The best thing that could happen is for Goodell to be fired. If that doesn’t happen the NFL needs to be disbanded and a players league started.

    The ones playing the game are NOT the NFL. The players and the game can exist without the NFL, not the other way around.

  34. 44 million dollar a year salary for old rog, and really, he’s not worth the sweat off my bag!

    Fire Rog!

  35. The NFL has an executive promise a 2 game suspension. Then they say he didn’t have that authority. Then they appoint a former executive, who is on the payroll, to review the case. And he agrees with the nfl.

    And some people actually think all of this is just fine and dandy. The nfl isn’t a business. They’re a criminal organization.

  36. The only NFLPA point that has any legs at all is that the CBA only allows for fines, suspension or both, not counseling, as punishment.

    The CBA clearly states that Goodell could have done the arbitration himself if he wanted to. There is absolutely nothing that requires the arbitrator to be impartial or objective.

    The OLD personal conduct policy, as the arbitrator pointed out in his ruling, would allow Goodell to give Peterson a lifetime ban. So to say that this is a retroactive application of a new policy is ridiculous. Peterson was given ample warning that behavior that Goodell found harmful to the NFL could result in banishment, all he had to do was read the policy.

    But the biggest hurdle I see for the NFLPA is that they agreed that contract disputes would be settled out of court by the arbitration process that was conducted exactly as it was called for under the CBA. I don’t think the courts are going to give the NFLPA a “second bite at the apple” just because they didn’t like the results they got from the process they agreed to.

    I also doubt that if the court does agree to hear this case that it will be completed by next fall, it will probably go on for years. It will be ironic if Peterson misses out on much more time by filing the lawsuit than he sought to recoup by it.

  37. I will say it again. AP was wrong in his disciplining of his child. No denying that. But not only was this his first offense, but he is being persecuted more than anyone else for a first offense. No one else has had to lose as much and lose part of their livelihood for a year for the same offense. This is the definition of overkill on the NFL’s part. Goodell and the arbitrator are not PHD’s in human behavior. So how can they say his remorse is not up to par on a 60 minute phone call or in a 30 second spot on the news? He should have been re-instated right away. take 6 game checks and time served for playing time. Game over. He should not be a poster child for discipline. He has made millions for the NFL. This is not how you say thank you.

  38. Goodell is running this corporation in a manner suitable to the Board of Directors (owners.) The players have two choices; Stop behaving like criminals, or, get a job somewhere else.

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