It was just what Adrian Peterson was looking for — finally some love from Minnesota. And Federal Judge David Doty did that when he issued his ruling on the suspension handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Peterson received what can best be described as a favorable ruling on his appeal. Doty overturned the arbitrator’s decision that upheld Goodell’s suspension of Peterson for six games through April 15, 2015.
This is a big loss for the NFL, which now is 0-3 in federal court versus the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) on appeals since 2010. There was the Bounty Gate-Ray Rice suspension, and now the Peterson suspension.
The NFLPA felt the NFL had not negotiated with them on any extra disciplinary action to previously suspended players that Goodell implemented. Based on this ruling from Doty, the NFLPA players were right.
“This is a victory for the rule of law, due process and fairness,” said DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA. “Our collective bargaining agreement has rules for implementation of the personal conduct policy, and when those rules are violated, our union always stands up to protect our players’ rights. This is just another example why neutral arbitration is good for our players, good for the owners, and good for game.”
Peterson is not reinstated, however, because the NFL has appealed Doty’s ruling. Peterson now has been placed back on the Commissioner’s exempt list. He is allowed to communicate with the Minnesota Vikings; he currently has a three-year contract with the team.
“I am pleased to learn about Judge Doty’s decision,” said Adrian Peterson. “It is a positive step in protecting players’ rights and preserving due process for all players.
“It also brings me one step closer to getting back on the football field and playing the sport I love. As I prepare for my return to football, I am still focused on my family and continue to work to become a better father every day.”
This is important — the ruling and timing are everything. Peterson was vilified by local and national media and many fans for the action he took in disciplining in his child back in May 2014, which resulted in his indictment and subsequent suspension. The Vikings have been very clear lately that they want Peterson back.
However, a month ago Peterson said he felt uneasy about returning to the Vikings. And his agent, Ben Dogna, nearly came to blows with a Vikings vice president in Indianapolis, where Dogna screamed out, “Adrian Peterson will never play for the Vikings again!”
Both sides have made mistakes over the last year, the Vikings the way they waffled back and forth, and maybe Peterson this time will allow them to talk and settle any issues and differences they may have with each other.
This has been a difficult time and taxing on everyone. Peterson’s suspension was not set to end until April 15, but for now this ruling by Doty can only help Peterson, because he can communicate for himself now that the suspension is over.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.