NFLPA: NFL can’t mandate counseling for Adrian Peterson

AP

When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Vikings running back Adrian Peterson last season, he set April 15 as a date to consider Peterson’s reinstatement and mandated that Peterson meet with a league-approved psychiatrist for counseling after pleading no contest to a charge of misdemeanor reckless assault on his four-year-old son.

On Monday, the NFLPA filed a brief in federal court arguing that Goodell has no power to impose such a condition on Peterson. The union, which is suing to have Peterson reinstated as soon as possible in a case set to begin next month, argues that Goodell’s powers under the collective bargaining agreement are limited to fining players, suspending them or terminating their contracts.

“The collectively-bargained NFL Player Contract could not be clearer in expressly limiting the Commissioner’s disciplinary authority ‘to fine Player[s] in a reasonable amount, to suspend Player[s] for a certain period or indefinitely; and/or to terminate th[eir] contract[s],'” the NFLPA writes in the brief, via ESPN.com. “The NFL does not deny that the Commissioner’s imposed counseling requirement is neither a fine, suspension, or contract termination, nor would there be any other ‘plausible’ interpretation of this CBA provision permitting such a requirement. Instead, the NFL — like the [suspension] itself — entirely ignores the Player Contract’s CBA disciplinary limitation. As the NFL highlights, Arbitrator [Harold] Henderson sustained the counseling requirement of Mr. Peterson’s discipline not on the basis of any provision in the CBA, but by relying upon Commissioner Goodell’s unilaterally promulgated Personal Conduct Policies.”

Peterson met with a psychology professor from Harvard following his indictment in September and provided details to the league, which directed Peterson to meet with a different doctor from NYU. After his suspension was upheld by Henderson, Peterson told ESPN that he felt “like any type of process with the NFL is not the way to go.”

69 responses to “NFLPA: NFL can’t mandate counseling for Adrian Peterson

  1. Clearly by this action the almighty Union has the best interests of Petersons kids in mind. Let’s wait til he beats one to death before we get concerned over their rights. They ought to be ashamed of themselves putting his “rights” over their safety

  2. Serial killers, serial rapists, wife beaters, child abusers, etc.

    It’s all good in the National Felon League.

  3. The NFLPA is obviously ignoring the Commish’s unwritten right to make up the rules as he goes along.

  4. So a Psychology professor from Harvard wasn’t good enough? Really? Since when is NYU a better school than Harvard? This commissioner is ridiculous, makes it up as he goes, and needs to go.

  5. I believe the Commissioner is trying to help Peterson, and the association who’s supposed to be helping the players is against it? I can’t believe I’m reading this. Goodell is trying to help this young man avoid a lifetime suspension from the NFL, and be a better father, husband, and son. This is a violent person who needs to be stopped from hurting people. I think these players need better representation than they’re getting. Adrian Peterson is a seriously ill man.

  6. No matter what the outcome of all this legal action taken by the NFLPA or Adrian Peterson himself… the League and Commissioner will still attempt to make it up as they go along.

  7. Misdemeanor, which will be off his record in 2 years if he attends counseling, in the privacy of his own home with absolutely nothing to do with the integrity of the game? immediate 15 games and counting without letting the investigation play out, most likely costing him the all time career rushing record (along with it NFL fans’ last shot at seeing that record fall), and complete ridicule from Goodell, with a public statement scolding Adrian like he’s a child, and that Roger knows what’s best for Adrian’s kids.

    Intentionally cheating in the AFC Championship game, with reports they have been deflating the footballs much longer than simply one game, on top of countless of other accusations against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the Patriots organization. Where there is smoke there is fire, and there has been so much smoke over the past 10 years you can’t tell me it’s ALL made up. If you want to believe that fairy tale than go ahead. Either way, we’ll see Golden Boy Tom trot out there “in the face of adversity” at the Super Bowl, as the NFL will drag this out as long as possible so that they can eventually just sweep this one under the rug. The NFL and Patriots are both disgusting organizations and I have no respect for either of them.

  8. The NFLPA can argue all they want that Goodell cannot order counseling…….but if Peterson pushes back too hard, he won’t play for anyone a his suspension won’t be lifted!

  9. They should reinstate AP today, immediately. He did wrong, was punished for it, actually more suspension than past players who killed innocent people while DUI behind the wheel of a vehicle. He has done his “time’, and there is no logical, nor legitimate reason to keep him away till April 15.

  10. Throughout this ordeal the NFLPA has made the situation worse for Adrian, but they have a point here. Adrian went too far in punishing his child, and has said he won’t use a switch again, and he has seen a shrink and stated that he is now aware of alternative disciplinary alternatives.

    In my opinion he had paid his price and should be allowed to return.

  11. Settling simple childhood interaction by by stuffing leaves in a 4 year old’s mouth and then beating his genitals with a tree branch clearly demonstrates a serious mental illness.

    Requiring treatment of the illness in addition to punishment for the crime is not only fair, it may make it more likely the crime will not be repeated.

    The length of time for the Union’s response indicates that they have little concern for this case.

  12. I think Peterson deserves a second chance in the league and I think he will get that chance.

    But anyone who beats a 4 year old child the way he did should probably have to do some counseling. I am not buying the whole “that’s how he was raised” thing. Rational people just don’t do that.

  13. If he whipped another adult until he/she was bleeding and left with scars, he’d be locked up for aggravated assault. But since it was a defenseless child, he walks.

    It’s too bad that “Terminate their contracts” isn’t French for “Beat his testicles with a tree branch”.

  14. They are probably technically correct in that the CBA does not give Goodell that specific authority. Peterson was suspended indefinitely and the sole authority to revisit that suspension and potentially reinstate him rests with Commissioner Goodell. What motivates him to do that is completely up to him whether you like it or not. If he wanted, he could simply not reinstate Peterson. I would probably accept the Harvard stuff it it was a form of therapy and not just a psych profile visit for the court. The union might want to look up what indefinite means before angering the guy who holds their client’s future in his hands. It doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable request. Why not just do it instead of risking the future? If they don’t comply, Roger can simply write “Denied” on the request for reinstatement.

  15. Most NFL players, [Richard] Sherman says, think the player’s punishment has been excessive.

    Sherman took issue with Roger Goodell’s public letter to Peterson, in which he wrote, “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.”

    “You shouldn’t have to deal with the commissioner patronizing you and telling you how to be a better father,” Sherman says. “Most of the scars on my face are from belts and switches. My parents told me they whooped me so the police wouldn’t do it, so that when you encounter authority in the real world, you don’t get yourself hurt or killed. I did wrong, I got beat, and I didn’t do that again.”

  16. It seems the Goodrell reign is one strife with player-League lawsuits. I don’t recall a period in the NFL when there was such animosity and infighting in the league. Granted, a new CBA may set a new stage for player-management relationships, but it just seems that Roger Goodell wants to create a position of ultimate my-way-or-the-highway authority not seen in previous administrations, forcing the hand of the NFLPA to resort to legal means.

    It seems like everything has to be a fight with Goodell, which I don’t think will serve him, or the league, well in the coming months.

    Roger, can’t we all just get along?

    Owners- How long are you willing to put up with this constant crap?

  17. I’ve never been a fan of forced counseling. Isn’t that something that Adrian should decide? If he truly wants to not have this happen again then he should be the one to follow the steps to insure it doesn’t.

  18. He should have given him a set number of time for a suspension then offered to reduce that time if he completed certain steps or complied with certain protocols which involved counseling or whatever.

    He’s really starting to look like this job is over his head. Granted, he’s done a lot in terms of maximizing market share and ad revenue, but in terms of day to day operations, he’s bungled one situation after another and doesn’t seem to be able to get his bearings.

  19. FinFan68 says:
    Jan 28, 2015 9:09 AM
    They are probably technically correct in that the CBA does not give Goodell that specific authority.
    ————–
    You are “technically” incorrect in your way of thinking. If Goodell doesn’t “technically” follow the CBA, then it’s “technically” the same thing as not having a CBA.

    What many here fail to realize is, this isn’t just about AP. The Union needs to fight this fight, or else the players will be run over by the NFL. This isn’t about if AP should have counseling. The courts have already decided he should. Goodell should have simply said; “you will be eligible for reinstatement once you have complied with the conditions set by the courts”.

    What if Goodell suddenly decided all players should seek counseling, as it will make them better husbands, fathers, sons, and citizens? That’s ok with you people that are defending Rog?

  20. The April date is a moot point, GODELL won’t be employed by the NFL in April. That boy will be canned 2 weeks after the Super Bowl. He has pissed off 1/3 of his owners and that 1/3 consists of some with the most influence.

    It’s time the owners realize the players won’t agree to a new cba with godell at the helm, which means the money stops coming in.

  21. tonebones says:
    Jan 28, 2015 7:26 AM
    I believe the Commissioner is trying to help Peterson, and the association who’s supposed to be helping the players is against it? I can’t believe I’m reading this.
    ————
    The rest of us can’t believe you think Goodell cares about any of the players. The NFLPA is trying to ensure the CBA is followed. Nothing more. Nothing less.

  22. djstat says:
    Jan 28, 2015 6:39 AM
    I normally support the NFLPA but AP needs massive counseling.
    ———–
    This has nothing to do with whether AP needs counseling or not. The courts have already ordered said counseling. This case is about whether or not Goodell has followed his authority as set by the CBA. And he has not.

    Plus, who are you to decide somebody needs “massive counseling” (whatever that is), after a person has accepted a misdemeanor plea for a single incident?

  23. Adrian was punished by the court, there is no disputing what he did. It was a terrible thing, but like Michael Vick, Peterson should be reinstated and allowed to continue his employment. If the Vikings see fit to cut ties with him, so be it. The other teams should at least be allowed to make their own decision on whether or not to sign AP. For the record, I’m not comparing what Peterson and Vick did, just making an analogy.

  24. Yes, he needs counseling. But, he needs to make that choice himself. Won’t do any good if it is not his decision. I want him back on the field, but I want his head on straight first.

  25. Lost in all this: The NFLPA might win the lawsuit, but I believe the original suspension (which has been upheld) was “indefinitely”, meaning Goodell doesn’t have to reinstate AP.

    Personally, I can’t figure why professional help from Harvard isn’t good enough and the league should accept it if the Harvard psychologist concludes AP is fit to resume his career.

  26. If I’m in the union, do I really want to make my stand against Goodell on behalf of this idiotic, sociopath Peterson?

  27. Dopey De Smith signs the worst CBA in history and goes to court every 5 minutes and usually loses. The players lose because it looks terrible, the game loses because it looks terrible.

    Roger Goodell looks like an idiot and De Smith is the guy who continuously loses to an idiot. Ah, but De gets to hand out fat contracts to his lawyer buddies and collect 3MM a year.

  28. The NFLPA, nor the Commish, should have the authority to force a player to go to counseling because they went overboard disciplining their child. The punishment, albeit, way too severe, has been levied. People need to get over themselves and stop trying to decide what’s best for AP and his family.

    The RB in football needs to return asap!

  29. “youngs79 says: Jan 28, 2015 7:10 AM
    So a Psychology professor from Harvard wasn’t good enough? Really? Since when is NYU a better school than Harvard? This commissioner is ridiculous, makes it up as he goes, and needs to go.
    ========================================

    Bro bro bro, you’re missing the point. The NYU psychologist is a league sponsor! The Harvard guy is unsanctioned in the eyes of the NFL.

    “This player suspension is brought to you by Dewey, Cheatem & Howe Behavoiral Psychologists”!

    Goodell will do anything he can do to get a few more bucks for his pockets.

  30. Goodell exceeded his authority and the CBA, he can’t legally mandate counseling, and is needlessly punishing the Vikings with the AP 4/15 suspension period, but come on, if anyone needs counseling on parenting/discipline techniques, its AP. Then again, word has it that most USA counselors are in WI dealing with a population suffering from mass depression.

  31. this has gone far enough goodell needs to back off he cant say who he sees only a court of law can this guy good ell is suck a dumb ass and if i ever seen him in rl he wouldn’t look the same when he meets a led pipe this guy is so stupid
    #firegoodell this guy need to stop destroying the NFL and treat everyone the same if it was kraft or jerry he would be freed the next day this guy is suck a joke hope roger don’t have kids cause they would have to have special schooling just to stay away from the other kids

  32. godell is a disgrace to his own family and if he was normal he would know it this stack of crap is stinking up the NFL
    if he doesn’t go i am done 100% with the NFL forever

  33. You wanna go that route….Ok, simple….You are now terminated from the league….to apply for reinstatement have documents showing completion of all required counseling by a league mandated counselor….there, that’s one less piece of trash

  34. AP is setting up for the lawsuit and roger is helping him all the way since roger ignore the CBA all the time it is setting up for them to lose everything and after that he needs to do the same to roger personally. GOD roger is dumb as they come from a business standpoint he is hurting every single owner in the NFL clearly
    #firethecomish!!

  35. How come I don’t remember the NFLPA fighting the sensitivity counseling imposed on the Miami Dolphin’s players, one teasing a grown man, and the other for not supporting Michael Sam?

  36. For all of you idiots blaming Goddell, this requirement was the recommendation Lisa Friel, the former head of Sex Crimes Prosecution in New York. She and three other women are now in charge of the NFL Domestic Policy and are responsible for coming up with the training, education and penalties for such crimes. These women have dealt with this for most of their adult lives and in the professional opinion believe that it was in AP’s, and his children’s, best interest that he complete the counseling. Not Roger Goddell. Get over your Goodell issues!

  37. The one who really needs counseling is the 4 year old boy, he is likely emotionally scarred for life.

    Speaking of emotionally scarred for life, its the Viking fan base who are so morally bankrupt that they would welcome back a child abuser if it helped them win. I suppose choking at 4 Superbowls and the last 5 NFC Championships might have that effect on you.

  38. The entire process has been fumbled from the start including the Vikings Front Office.

    The scary part about not doing exactly what Roger says is that he will dig his boots in and AP will not play this year either.

    Roger is not the almighty. The NFL does not need the head doc in their back pocket and a third party that has nothing to do with AP or the NFL is probably the best way to go.

    NFL is broken and Roger has a baseball bat in his hands.

  39. Maybe Roger should ask Kraft how he should handle AP. We all know Kraft had his two cents in back at the beginning of the year when the AP story started to come out.

    Roger and Bob Kraft run the NFL. I can’t wait to watch Roger stand at the Podium and apologize to the PATS with his tail between his lets because Kraft told him he had to on National TV.

    Kraft should be investigated as long and hard as AP has.

  40. whatjusthapped says:
    Jan 28, 2015 12:49 PM
    Speaking of emotionally scarred for life, its the Viking fan base who are so morally bankrupt that they would welcome back a child abuser if it helped them win. I suppose choking at 4 Superbowls and the last 5 NFC Championships might have that effect on you.

    A) The Packers welcome back a convicted felon named Johnny Jolly and it was applauded because it was a ‘second chance”. Umm…why do you have a problem with AP coming back now?

    B) Packer fans dont ever get to talk about another team choking. Ever.

  41. People’s disdain for Goodell and how he handles player punishment are missing the bigger picture, all in the name of him playing again. Some fans strictly for fantasy points.

    If your baby sitter did this to your child, would you have them watch your child again? Would you press charges (after beating them senseless as I would)?

    He’s been charged with a misdemeanor, but plead down from felony child abuse.

    With all the crap that players do, and have done, we’ve become, as fans, sort of immune of what some players have done/been doing.

    He’ll more than likely get the opportunity to play again, as that is the job of the players union. Fight for your union employees rights.

    I agree Goodell has, and will continue, to over step his authority in this, and future cases, by demanding more than what the NFL has agreed to with punishment via the agreement with the NFLPA.

    But at the end of the day, what Peterson did was wrong, and against the law. Plain and simple.

    Going forward, any time I hear his name, I won’t think of him being a great running back first.

  42. AP beat down his kid and went too far, kind of like what Seattle did to the Packers and did the Hawks get mandatory counseling?

  43. @whatjusthappened That loss would have kept me away for months if not longer. This just goes to show you need the Vikings. You should go buy a Harrison Smith Jersey already and get it over with.

  44. Maybe they should just meet and have a friendly chat and AD will agree to go to his couselor if the Commish will go to some management training of Adrian’s choice.

    When this gets overturned in court Godwell will have embarressed the NFL yet again and hopefully will be FIRED.

    Godell refuses to take counseling from the previous GREAT NFL commissioner and is making every attempt to ruin the NFL.

    Number of players who like this commish is probably real low. Number of players who liked (even though they may not have always agreed with him) the old commish was probably very high. I realize he is not hired by the players but the owners, but he should at least be respected by the players and liked by some, and I suspect none of them like him and very few respect him.

  45. Peterson can only get admitted to the NFL again if he truly stops his criminal and irresponsible behavior and learns how to be a man in a modern Western civilized society.

    The NFL cannot tolerate such evil behavior from anyone associated with them. The sponsors don’t want to be associated with that evil. That is why the vikings lost sponsorships over their mishandling of the scandal.

    Sponsorships bring in a lot of revenue and you can’t have Peterson costing the NFL sponsorship revenue.

  46. contra74 says:
    Jan 28, 2015 1:37 PM
    The Packers welcome back a convicted felon named Johnny Jolly and it was applauded because it was a ‘second chance”. Umm…why do you have a problem with AP coming back now?
    ===============================

    Jolly first went to counseling, see the difference?

    And Jolly was a addict, not a sociopath. That makes it doubly important to seeking counseling first.

  47. whatjusthapped says:
    Jan 28, 2015 4:10 PM
    contra74 says:
    Jan 28, 2015 1:37 PM
    The Packers welcome back a convicted felon named Johnny Jolly and it was applauded because it was a ‘second chance”. Umm…why do you have a problem with AP coming back now?
    ===============================

    Jolly first went to counseling, see the difference?

    And Jolly was a addict, not a sociopath. That makes it doubly important to seeking counseling first.
    —-
    Somehow all of that changes the fact that he is a CONVICTED FELON and that you welcomed him back? You cant pick and choose your arguments with another fanbase when you are doing the exact same thing, if not worse, on yours.

  48. Whether you like Adrian or not, whether you think his disciplinary tactics are unforgiveable or not, a U.S. court found him guilty of a misdemeanor; gave him a small fine, probation and some community service to mend his ways.

    Then his boss told him he can’t work the rest of the year, he foreits 40% of his annual salary and he needs to follow his bosses councelling plan before he would considered letting him come back to work.

    Not sure about any of you, but if I had a boss try that on me, I’d tell my boss to stick it where the sun don’t shine.

    Just saying.

  49. Goodell is a joke, and he may have alienated his strongest ally. Something tells me he won’t be around much longer. He needs to listen to Tagliabue and stop trying to strong-arm players and teams. Set clear rules, enforce them every time, get rid of the ones that you don’t enforce, and be clear about your expectations, and clearly explain your reasons for each rule. You wouldn’t thank that would be so hard. Yet, he still thinks he can treat players like this, and yet he lets Marshawn Lynch go with a massive penalty and no explanation. The league is in complete discord right now, and people are hardly talking about what could have been one of the greatest matchups for the Superbowl ever. And he created all of these problems with how he handles his job.

    He needs to go.

  50. As a federal employee, I can say this much. If I had been accused of and convicted of the crime Peterson was accused of, I would have been fired, lost my pension and never been able to work for the government again. All Peterson has to do is apologize and act like he understands that what he did was unacceptable to be able to play, get paid, and be a role-model for children again.

  51. Packers=biggest choke EVER. In championship game history. Nice record. Be PROUD!

  52. greenbaylibrarybreathalyzer says: Jan 29, 2015 12:52 AM

    Packers=biggest choke EVER. In championship game history. Nice record. Be PROUD!
    ———-

    Gary Anderson says “You forget about me?”

  53. Roger doesn’t even allow AD to speak with his team on top of not reinstating him at the earliest April 15. The draft is the end of April that puts the Vikings at a huge disadvantage.Just stop Roger .

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