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Could The Ray Rice Verdict Affect Adrian Peterson's Suspension?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed the news yesterday, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice won his appeal against the National Football League. Rice had been under an indefinite suspension from the National Football League for the incident that saw him punch his wife in a casino elevator. . .a suspension that came after his initial two-game suspension that was handed down "before" the NFL saw the video of said incident.

(I put "before" in quotation marks because, really, nobody's dumb enough to actually believe that, particularly with all the evidence to the contrary at this point.)

So, with that having happened, the question for fans of the Minnesota Vikings is an obvious one. . .is there any way that this affects the suspension of running back Adrian Peterson? Well, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, there are a couple of things from the Rice case that could be beneficial to Peterson in his appeal, which is to be heard on Tuesday.

The first is that U.S. Judge Barbara Jones, the woman who heard the appeal, called the league's suspension of Peterson "arbitrary," a term that the Star-Tribune notes the NFLPA has used to describe the suspension Peterson received from the league after his no contest plea. Peterson's camp also continues to allege that he was told that he would get credit for "time served" when any sort of punishment was handed down. The league says that they did consider "time served," which apparently means that they were set to suspend Peterson for the entire season from the get-go. Either that or they're lying about that, too, and pulled that out of their collective posterior when it became convenient to do so. Given the way this entire thing has played out so far, I know which side of the fence I'm on.

Second, the league told Rice that he would not be penalized retroactively under the league's new domestic violence policy, a policy that came down after Rice's. . .and Peterson's. . .incidents.

Now, there is one significant difference between the Rice appeal and the Peterson appeal, and that's in who's hearing it. Yes, both appeals will be heard by someone other than Roger Goodell. However, Judge Jones. . .someone not connected to the National Football League in any way. . .heard the Rice appeal because Goodell was forced to testify at the hearing, necessitating someone that was a non-NFL person hearing the case.

Peterson's appeal, on the other hand, will be heard by Harold Henderson, a former NFL executive who routinely hears NFL appeals under the various different policies the league has (substance abuse, PED, personal conduct, etc). Most recently, Henderson upheld the 10-game suspension that was handed down to Cleveland Browns' wide receiver Josh Gordon. As you can imagine, the NFLPA is not terribly pleased with this idea, citing Henderson not being a truly "neutral" third-party.

Henderson's presence at the hearing is probably enough to assume that Peterson's appeal doesn't have a snowball's chance of ending the way the Peterson camp and the NFLPA want it to. At this point, it appears that Peterson is basically serving Rice's suspension anyway, and it wouldn't surprise me that, after the league got knocked back in the Rice case, that everything about Peterson's suspension and return is upheld by the "neutral" third-party arbitrator in this case.