We’re approaching two years since the news came down that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was being charged with physically harming his (then) four-year old son, charges that caused him to miss all but one game of the 2014 NFL season. On Thursday, the legal system appeared to have put everything connecting the case to an end.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was, in fact, within the realm of his authority when he suspended Peterson for six games in 2014. The suspension came after several weeks where Peterson was on the “Commissioner’s Exempt” List.
The NFL handed that suspension down under their new Personal Conduct Policy, but U.S. District Judge David Doty ruled that the league had overstepped their bounds by handing down that suspension. The National Football League appealed that ruling, and the oral arguments in that appeal were heard nearly ten months ago, back on 19 October 2015. I’m not sure why it’s taken them until now to finally make the decision on this one, but it did.
Per Ed Werder of ESPN, Peterson must pay the NFL the value of three of his 2014 game checks, or approximately $2.1 million.
The takeaway from this case seems to be that the NFL can pretty much discipline any player they want in any way they see fit. For as much as the NFLPA wants to complain about that, that’s pretty much what they signed on to when they agreed to the league’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011. Perhaps the next time the CBA is up for negotiation, the union could focus on that if they want to limit what Roger Goodell (or any other Commissioner) could potentially do.