NFLPA Calls for Adrian Peterson's Immediate Reinstatement
Attention all fantasy football participants:
Now is the time. If you have kept a firm grip on Adrian Peterson and provided a warm seat on your bench, congratulations on your perseverance. If you are thinking about trading him away because you have managed without him this long, sit back and determine your priorities. If you are the desperate underdog looking for that comeback in the final third of the season, throw away any risk aversion, and find a way to get him.
On Friday, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the labor organization that represents the players, sent a letter to the NFL seeking immediate reinstatement of the Minnesota Vikings running back. Peterson entered a no contest plea to misdemeanor charges of reckless assault last week in a plea agreement with the NFL. A no contest plea is not a guilty plea, technically, but it essentially has the same immediate effect in that the judge hands down a penalty and that the prosecution and defense avoid a long trial with the risk of the defense being convicted of a more serious offense. Here, by doing so, Peterson will not receive any jail time, and he only needs to pay a $4,000 fine and complete 80 hours of community service.
As anticipated, the NFL is itching to review Peterson's conduct under the newly enacted personal conduct policy. The League told Peterson that it would do just that, but it used express language specifically mentioning Peterson's original charge of "felony Injury to a child" (for using a wooden switch when disciplining his four-year-old son) instead of the misdemeanor charge to which he plead no contest. This is a huge error on the NFL's part. When plain language used is clear, it typically governs. The NFL is undertaking disciplinary review right now, but the plain language referring to the felony charge rather than the misdemeanor may be enough to take away the NFL's opportunity to suspend Peterson and discipline him to a full extent.
The NFLPA sent the letter because the plea agreement also stated that upon the resolution of Peterson's legal dispute, he would be removed from commissioner Roger Goodell's exempt list. The labor organization is arguing that Peterson should not be disciplined any differently than any other player found guilty of a misdemeanor. This only seems fair, chiefly because the legal matter is resolved and his immediate reinstatement was allegedly agreed to, right? Well, as always, the NFL has the option not to comply with the plea agreement reached. If this occurs, the NFLPA can file an expedited non-injury grievance. Goodell is not known for consistency, but regardless, do not be surprised if you see him practicing with the Vikings later this week and playing Sunday against the Bears. Adrian Peterson is coming.