Adrian Peterson received the NFL's punishment for his misdemeanor count of reckless assault on a child: He has been suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2014 season.
Prior to today's announcement, Peterson had been sitting on the “Exempt/Commissioner's Permission List,” which allowed him to draw his salary while serving his suspension following an indictment in September on child abuse charges for repeatedly striking his four-year-old son with a “switch.” Not anymore.
This article shows the graphic photos showing the nature of the child abuse that Adrian Peterson admitted to having committed.
In handing down his ruling, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell cited that the league's new disciplinary policy permits a “baseline” suspension of six games without pay for a first criminal offense of this nature. This same policy also allows Goodell to consider “aggravating circumstances” when determining player discipline, which he did in this case.
Goodell pointed out that the victim was too young to be able to fight back or flee, the child suffered “psychological trauma” from the incident, the switch in the hands of a professional athlete was tantamount to a dangerous weapon and Peterson's apparent lack of “meaningful remorse” after the incident indicated he would not change his behavior in the future.
The NFL Players Union is unhappy with the league's actions concerning Peterson, claiming that the Commissioner has been inconsistent. The NFLPA's statement reads in part:
"'The decision by the NFL to suspend Adrian Peterson is another example of the credibility gap that exists between the agreements they make and the actions they take. Since Adrian's legal matter was adjudicated, the NFL has ignored their obligations and attempted to impose a new and arbitrary disciplinary proceeding.
The facts are that Adrian has asked for a meeting with Roger Goodell, the discipline imposed is inconsistent and an NFL executive told Adrian that his time on the Commissioner's list would be considered as time served. The NFLPA will appeal this suspension and will demand that a neutral arbitrator oversee the appeal.'"
Though Peterson was initially charged by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department with felony reckless or negligent injury to a child, he later pled no contest to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless assault earlier this month. He paid a $4,000 fine, will be on probation, and must perform community service.
ESPN's Adam Schefter broke down what the ruling means for Peterson:
Some still offer their support:
And one former NFL player had another observation of his own:
The debate on the line between child abuse and discipline won't be settled by this case. But it has started a much-needed conversation on the matter.