NFL suspends Vikings’ Adrian Peterson without pay for rest of season; NFLPA to appeal

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Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

NEW YORK — The NFL announced Tuesday morning that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been suspended without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 season.

The league said Peterson has “shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct” and he will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy related to an incident of abusive discipline that he inflicted on his 4-year-old son in May.

Peterson has been on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list — which kept him off the field but still paid him — since September after allegations he disciplined his 4-year-old son too harshly with a switch, or thin stick.

RELATED: Full news release from NFL

“The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to Peterson. “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.”

Initially charged with felony child abuse, Peterson pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault this month. His reinstatement also hinges on his rehabilitation, how he cares for his children and whether he commits further violations of the law or league policy, the letter stated.

The NFL Players Association said it will appeal the ruling.

“The decision by the NFL to suspend Adrian Peterson is another example of the credibility gap that exists between the agreements they make and the actions they take,” the union said in a statement. “Since Adrian’s legal matter was adjudicated, the NFL has ignored their obligations and attempted to impose a new and arbitrary disciplinary proceeding.”

Peterson he will remain on the Exempt List with pay pending a final decision.Goodell has established a “baseline discipline” of six games without pay for first offenses of assault, battery or domestic violence, but he cited aggravating circumstances in Peterson’s case:*The child was only 4, and while an adult can flee, fight back or call the police when experiencing abuse, those options aren’t available to a child. In this case, the child also suffered psychological trauma stemming from the “criminal physical abuse at the hands of the father.”

*”The repetitive use of a switch” is tantamount to a weapon in the hands of someone with the strength of a pro athlete.

*Peterson showed “no meaningful remorse” and publicly said he would not “eliminate whooping my kids.” He also sent text messages to the child’s mother defending his actions, which raises concerns that he didn’t understand the seriousness of his conduct and may do it again in the future.

Goodell also said in the letter “Any further violation of the Personal Conduct Policy will result in additional discipline and may subject you to banishment from the NFL.”

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