The NFL have announced that Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson has been suspended without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 season.
He will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15th, having been judged to have violated the NFL Personal Conduct Policy when inflicting physical discipline on his four year-old son on May 18th 2014.
“The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision,” wrote Commissioner Roger Goodell in a letter to Peterson, posted to NFL Communications.
“Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your 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.
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.”
Peterson has the right to appeal the decision with written notice to the commissioner within three working days. If he elects to do so, the 29 year-old would continue on the Exempt List and be paid until his appeal is heard.
Goodell cited three factors warranting higher levels of discipline.
“First, the injury was inflicted on a child who was only four years old,” continued the commissioner’s letter.
“The difference in size and strength between you and the child is significant, and your actions clearly caused physical injury to the child. 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. Further, the injury inflicted on your son includes the emotional and psychological trauma to a young child who suffers criminal physical abuse at the hands of his father.
“Second, the repetitive use of a switch in this instance is the functional equivalent of a weapon, particularly in the hands of someone with the strength of an accomplished professional athlete.
“Third, you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct. When indicted, you acknowledged what you did but said that you would not ‘eliminate whooping my kids’ and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child’s mother. You also said that you felt ‘very confident with my actions because I know my intent.’
These comments raise the serious concern that you do not fully appreciate the seriousness of your conduct, or even worse, that you may feel free to engage in similar conduct in the future.”