The Minnesota Vikings barred Adrian Peterson from all team activities on Wednesday, reversing course on a controversial decision the team made earlier in the week, when it said the star running back would play despite his indictment on a child-injury charge.
“After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian,” Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said in a statement. “We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community.”
Peterson was officially placed on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list, which requires him to remain away from the team until his legal issues are resolved. Peterson’s next scheduled court date is October 8, unless he negotiates to have his case – which stems from an incident in which he disciplined his 4-year-old son with a switch – resolved at an earlier date.
The NFL Players Association is aware of the case, and is reportedly considering challenging it on Peterson’s behalf. In the mean time, he will receive his full salary – $11.75 million this season – and Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, told the Associated Press his designation was “the best possible outcome given the circumstances.”
Shortly after the Vikings announced their decision, Peterson posted a lengthy message on his Twitter account:
— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) September 17, 2014
On Friday, Peterson was indicted on a charge of negligent injury to a child in his home state of Texas. That lead the Vikings to deactivate him for their game against the New England Patriots, which they lost 30-7. On Monday, the Wilf brothers reinstated him, allowing “the judicial process to move forward.”
That decision was widely criticized – even Minnesota’s governor entered the fray – especially given the myriad of other violent, off-field incidents currently plaguing the NFL.
And late Tuesday, there was a new development in one of those cases: the indefinite suspension of Ray Rice, who was barred from the league following the release of security camera footage that showed him punching his then-fiancée in a New Jersey casino.
According to the NFLPA, Rice is now appealing that suspension, claiming “a lack of a fair and impartial process, including the role of the office of the commissioner of the NFL.”
Rice was given a two-game suspension by commissioner Roger Goodell in July, a penalty that was criticized as being too lenient. Last week, after a new video of Rice assaulting his fiancée went public, the league suddenly upped the ante, banning him indefinitely.
The NFLPA said that the league’s collective bargaining agreement requires a date for Rice’s hearing be set within 10 days, and asked that a neutral arbitrator determine what information was available to the NFL when they made the initial decision to suspend him for two games – and when it was available.
“The commissioner and his staff will be essential witnesses in the proceeding,” the NFLPA’s statement read in part, “and thus cannot serve as impartial arbitrators.”