Adrian Peterson wonders ‘how did Ray Rice get reinstated before me?’
Adrian Peterson doesn’t believe he got a fair shake when it comes to his suspension appeal, which was denied Friday.
Running back Adrian Peterson says the NFL is handling his suspension and appeal “absolutely wrong,” according to an interview with ESPN. Peterson’s appeal of a suspension for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy was denied Friday. Peterson gave a lengthy statement with his thoughts.
After saying that the league is handling his situation poorly, Peterson said that he’s been “made an example of,” pointing to the fact that Ray Rice has since been reinstated after his violations this year.
“I have nothing but love for Ray Rice, I’m happy he has the chance to play, Peterson said. “But it’s like, how did Ray Rice get reinstated before me, a team has a chance to pick him up, but I don’t have the opportunity to come back until April.”
Peterson’s appeal was heard by former NFL executive Harold Henderson, who was appointed by commissioner Roger Goodell as an arbitrator in the case, which stems from a child abuse charge. Peterson pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault for injuring his four-year old son, and was suspended for the remainder of the season on Nov. 18.
Henderson ruled that Peterson “was afforded all the protections and rights to which he is entitled,” and found “no basis to vacate or reduce the discipline.”
Peterson is expected to appeal the decision in federal court on the basis that Henderson didn’t give him a fair ruling. Peterson said that “any type of process with the NFL is not the way to go.
“It’s a business; the outcome is going to be in their favor no matter what.”
Peterson added that Henderson was appointed solely because he was an arbitrator “that would rule in [the NFL's] favor.”
At this point, Peterson’s future is still up in the air. He can apply for reinstatement to the league on April 15, but what happens as a result of the pending litigation could change things.
Peterson’s full comments to ESPN:
“I feel like they’re handling the situation absolutely wrong,” he said. “I think I’ve been made an example out of. It kind of baffles me how — I have nothing but love for Ray Rice, I’m happy he has the chance to play. But it’s like, how did Ray Rice get reinstated before me, a team has a chance to pick him up, but I don’t have the opportunity to come back until April. When has that happened in any other case in the NFL, ever?”
Peterson said he will appeal the decision in federal court.
“I don’t really know,” he said when asked whether he thought the decision to pursue legal action would delay his reinstatement. “That’s something I have to sit back and talk to my team about. I haven’t talked to anyone today. To this point, any type of process with the NFL is not the way to go. It’s a business; the outcome is going to be in their favor no matter what. Did they appoint Harold Henderson to Ray Rice’s case? No. They knew the situation and the facts about that case and what was going to come out. They clearly wanted to get [an arbitrator] that would rule in their favor.”
The players’ union reacted swiftly to the ruling.
“The NFLPA expected this outcome, given the hearing officer’s relationship and financial ties to the NFL,” the union’s statement read. “The decision itself ignores the facts, the evidence and the collective bargaining agreement. This decision also represents the NFL’s repeated failure to adhere to due process and confirms its inconsistent treatment of players. Our union is considering immediate legal remedies.”