The hearing for the grievance filed on behalf of Adrian Peterson by the NFL Players Association is scheduled for Monday, but the Vikings running back didn’t appear at another hearing that was supposed to happen yesterday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.
Monday’s hearing is related to whether or not Peterson should be immediately reinstated as part of his agreement to be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list until his legal case was resolved. Yesterday’s meeting was a disciplinary hearing, intended to help the NFL decide what sort of penalty – if any – to assess for Peterson’s violations of the league’s personal conduct policy. Having initially been set for Tuesday, yesterday’s scheduled disciplinary hearing had already been moved back once by the league.
“We informed the union that we were unwilling to postpone the hearing beyond this week given that the player and union had both expressed a strong desire to resolve this matter as soon as possible and we had been given no meaningful reason why Adrian and the union could not appear and participate,” said a league official. “We offered other alternatives for this week, but those also were not acceptable. We also have yet to receive more than cursory materials in response to our requests for information on the case. Accordingly, we went forward with the review on Friday as scheduled.
“We had hoped that Adrian would take advantage of his opportunity to be heard and present whatever information he believes should be considered before a decision on discipline, counseling and services is made,” the official continued. “Because he and the NFLPA elected not to do so, we will have to address this based on the information currently available to us.”
While the NFL expressed disappointment with the apparent lack of cooperation by Peterson and the NFLPA, the running back, his lawyer Rusty Hardin, and the union don’t seem happy with league’s approach to the situation. According to Hardin, it’s against Texas state law to give the NFL all the documents it requested, and Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that Peterson informed the league on Thursday he wouldn’t attend the hearing because the league hadn’t clearly answered questions about the role of outside experts in the process. Meanwhile, NFLPA spokesperson George Atallah said the Players Association never agreed to Friday’s meeting.
“The league office seems more focused on creating an arbitrary disciplinary process for Adrian instead of honoring a signed agreement to remove him from the commissioner’s list,” Atallah said. “They are simply making stuff up as they go along. They should commit their efforts to meeting us at the table to collectively bargain a new personal conduct policy.”
On the subject of collectively bargaining a new conduct policy, the NFLPA submitted a proposal to the league this week, making several suggestions involving discipline for personal conduct violations. As Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun outlines, the union doesn’t want to see players punished based on simply an arrest or pending charges — instead, the proposal calls for discipline to be meted out once a matter is adjudicated, with a neutral third-party – rather than the commissioner or a team – deciding on the penalty.
If the union’s proposal were applied to Peterson’s case, the running back either wouldn’t have been forced to sit out the eight games he has already missed while his case was pending, or – if he had agreed to take a take a paid voluntary leave of absence – those games would qualify as time served.