Peterson suspended without pay through end of season

Adrian Peterson
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been suspended from the NFL through the end of the 2014 season. The Vikings will play their last game of the regular season on Dec. 28 in Minneapolis.
Adam Bettcher / Getty Images 2013

Updated: 9:26 a.m. | Posted: 8:05 a.m.

The National Football League has suspended Minnesota Vikings star running back and one-time MVP Adrian Peterson without pay for the rest of the 2014 season.

The NFL Players Association said Peterson will immediately appeal. The NFL said Peterson is eligible to be paid during the appeal process.

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The Vikings said the team respected the league's decision and would make no other immediate comment on the matter.

Peterson pleaded no contest earlier this month to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son. He was indicted in September on charges of child abuse and put on paid leave.

The league's action follows a hearing Monday on NFL Players Association request to reinstate Peterson, who had been placed on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's "exempt list" since his indictment.

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The league said Peterson won't be eligible to return to the NFL before April 15, 2015.

In a statement to Peterson, Goodell said the player violated the NFL's personal conduct policy. Goodell cited three reasons for the action: that the victim, Peterson's son, was just 4 years old; that Peterson had used a switch to discipline the boy; and because Goodell said he felt Peterson hadn't shown remorse.

"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," Goodell wrote in a letter to Peterson released by the league. "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."

In August, Goodell announced an enhanced crackdown on players involved with domestic violence. The league is also requiring Peterson to go through counseling and therapy. Goodell said in the letter that Peterson's reinstatement will be based on his success in counseling.

"The difference in size and strength between you and the child is significant, and your actions clearly caused physical injury to the child," Goodell said in the letter. "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."

The NFL players' union released a statement Tuesday decrying the league's action.

"[T]he discipline imposed is inconsistent and an NFL executive told Adrian that his time on the Commissioner's list would be considered as time served," according to the union's statement. "The NFLPA will appeal this suspension and will demand that a neutral arbitrator oversee the appeal."

The team will play its final game of the regular season Dec. 28 against the Chicago Bears.