The appeal filed by Adrian Peterson and the National Football League Players Association in their fight against the NFL will be heard in U.S. District Court on Friday, 6 February at 2 PM Central time.
The NFLPA filed the appeal a few days after "neutral arbitrator" Harold Henderson upheld Peterson's suspension from the league, stemming from the child injury charges he was arrested for back in September. The case will be heard by Judge David Doty.
If that name sounds familiar to you, it should. Doty was the presiding judge in the StarCaps case involving Kevin Williams and Pat Williams that started back in 2008 and got dragged out through 2011, finally resulting in the Williams Wall each getting their suspensions reduced from four games to two. (And zero games in the case of Pat Williams, as he had retired by the time the final verdict came down.)
Doty was also the presiding judge in the class-action suit brought forth by Reggie White in 1993 that, essentially, set the stage for free agency in the NFL. In that case, Doty called both parties into his office and advised them to settle, telling both sides that neither would like the ruling he was prepared to make.
More recently, in 2011, he sided with the NFLPA against NFL owners, when he ruled that the owners had negotiated a $4 billion lockout fund with their broadcast partners "to advance its own interests and harm the interests of the players."
Doty has been ruling on matters involving the National Football League for over two decades, and in many instances the league has sought to remove him from having jurisdiction over NFL matters, as they view him as being pro-union and pro-player. . .something that could definitely work to Peterson's advantage.
It would appear that the NFL is hoping to get a quick ruling in the matter, which would be in the best interest of Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings. With the hearing set to take place on 6 February, the odds are pretty good that a ruling would come down before the start of the new league year on 10 March. Knowing Peterson's status by that point and/or being able to negotiate something with Peterson and his agents would give the team a better idea of what they can and can't do going forward.