Adrian Peterson missed the Vikings’ afternoon practice Wednesday to make a court appearance. Peterson was in Minneapolis at a hearing on a contempt motion filed against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell by the NFL Players Association in U.S. District Court.
The NFLPA believes Goodell ignored the collective bargaining agreement while disciplining Peterson last season after Peterson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault. Peterson and the NFLPA sued the league over the retroactive application of a personal conduct policy that was instituted after he was charged.
Center John Sullivan (back) also missed practice, as he has for a week. So did tight end MyCole Pruitt (knee), tackle Carter Bykowski (pectoral) and cornerback Josh Robinson (pectoral). Defensive lineman Shamar Stephen (knee) was back but a limited participant. Tight end Rhett Ellison left practice early with an unknown malady.
There was also a rare camp dustup when receiver Donte Foster and cornerback Josh Thomas had to be separated after a short battle.
Here's a full story on the latest Adrian Peterson developments from local Associated Press reporter Dave Campbell:
Adrian Peterson was reinstated by the NFL in April. He rejoined the Vikings in June. He even got a new contract in July, with the guaranteed money he was seeking.
From the league’s view, then, there should be no further dispute about the application of the personal conduct policy related to Peterson’s punishment last season. The situation turned out all right for the star running back, now that he’s back on the field.
For the NFL Players Association, there still are legal problems in play. The union argues Peterson should be paid back the millions he lost during what amounted to a six-game suspension, and the league has defied the federal judge in charge of the case.
NFLPA and NFL lawyers traded arguments Wednesday in front of U.S. District Judge David Doty in Minneapolis on the union’s contempt of court motion that was filed in May.
NFLPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler told Doty such a move was necessary to push the NFL to send Peterson’s suspension appeal back to arbitration, as ordered by Doty in February. Kessler asked Doty to require the NFL and the NFLPA to jointly ask arbitration officer Harold Henderson for a new ruling, in addition to awarding the union appropriate attorney fees.
The lead lawyer for the league, Dan Nash, responded by accusing the union of deceptively using Peterson’s example to stage a larger fight over the personal conduct policy.
Peterson badly injured his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch he said he used for disciplinary purposes. He had the charge reduced to a misdemeanor, avoiding jail time in Texas, but he missed 15 of 16 games due to the fallout. Most of that was paid leave, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued the suspension with six games left on Minnesota’s schedule. Peterson’s appeal was denied by Henderson three weeks later.
The union petitioned the court to vacate Henderson’s ruling. Doty agreed. The NFL turned to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which likely won’t hear the case until October.
The union’s complaint has been that Peterson’s son was hurt several months before Goodell’s announcement of a tougher personal conduct policy.
“He can’t get those games back that he improperly missed, but at least he can get back the pay,” Kessler said.
Goodell was not at the hearing, but Peterson was. After Doty took the arguments under advisement, Peterson and the legal teams for both sides to settlement talks in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Janie Mayeron. She ordered the mediation session in July.