Minnesota Vikings’ star running back Adrian Peterson has been suspended without pay for at least the remainder of 2014 season after he was spared jail for hitting his son, the NFL said today.
Peterson, 29, has ‘shown no meaningful remorse’ for his conduct, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement released on Tuesday.
He will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15 for violating the NFL Personal Conduct Policy in an ‘incident of abusive discipline that he inflicted on his four-year-old son’.
The league said in its statement that Peterson is allowed to appeal its decision in writing within three days and if he does, he will continue to be paid pending a decision.
The NFL Players Association swiftly announced on Tuesday that it does plan to appeal the decision and will demand a neutral party to hear the appeal.
The announcement comes two weeks after Peterson pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault – down from a felony charge of child abuse – for disciplining his son with a wooden switch.
The child, who has not been named, was left with cuts, marks and bruising to his thighs, back and one of his testicles, according to court records, and backlash from the public was strong.
In his letter to Peterson, Goodell said he had reached his decision because the victim was just four and significantly smaller than the professional athlete.
‘While an adult may have a number of options when confronted with abuse – to flee, to fight back, or to seek help from law enforcement – none of those options is realistically available to a four-year old child,’ Goodell wrote.
He added that the wooden switch was essentially a weapon he had used against the boy.
Goodell also expressed his concern that the player had shown no awareness of the harm he had caused, and had repeatedly stood up for his 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,’ he said.
‘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.’
After the court’s decision on November 4, Peterson received two years of probation, plus a $4,000 fine and requirement to complete parenting classes and 80 hours of community service.
‘I’m just glad this is over,’ Peterson said after the plea deal was announced in Texas. ‘I can put this behind me, and me and my family can move forward.’
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