The National Football League's credibility crisis continues.
In the wake of the NFL's announcement that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson would be suspended without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 season for violating its personal conduct policy, the NFL Players Association was highly critical of the decision and process that led to it.
“The process that the NFL has employed since the beginning of the season has been arbitrary, inconsistent, uneven and inconsistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said during an appearance on ESPN radio on Tuesday morning, via ProFootballTalk. “You get the feeling over the last few months that the National Football League has simply been making it up as they go along. That’s something that is not in the best interests of the game, certainly not in the best interests of the players, and I know not in the best interests of our sponsors.”
In addition to Smith's comments on ESPN's "Mike & Mike," the NFLPA released a statement on Peterson's suspension, noting the union's plans to appeal the decision:
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.
We call on the NFL Management Council to show our players and our sponsors leadership by committing to collective bargaining so a fair personal conduct policy can be implemented as quickly as possible.
Peterson, the 2012 NFL MVP, was placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List in September, following his indictment in a child injury case involving a 4-year-old son. After appearing in the Vikings' opening game of the 2014 season, he was sidelined for nine games before the NFL announced that he would not be considered for reinstatement before April 15, 2015. The 29-year-old avoided jail time in the case by pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault for disciplining his son with a wooden switch. In its statement on the suspension, the NFLPA claimed that an NFL executive had informed Peterson that his missed games earlier in the season would be considered when determining his return to the field.