Arbitrator Harold Henderson said in his ruling that Peterson, the
2012 NFL Most Valuable Player, "has not demonstrated that the
process and procedures surrounding his discipline were not fair and
Henderson added that Peterson "was afforded all the protections and
rights to which he is entitled, and I find no basis to vacate or
reduce the discipline."
Henderson is a former NFL executive vice president of labor
relations who has heard 87 appeals since 2008 involving personal
conduct and drug issues.
Peterson, who played in only one game this season before being taken
placed on the commissioner's "exempt list," is expected to appeal
the decision in federal court.
Peterson, 29, pleaded no contest on Nov. 4 to misdemeanor reckless
assault of his 4-year-old son, allowing him to avoid a felony
child-abuse conviction. After Peterson's plea, Goodell suspended
Peterson until at least April 15 for violating the NFL personal
conduct policy. He was arrested in September on a felony child abuse
charge for disciplining his son by repeatedly striking him with a
thin tree branch called a switch.
The players' union condemned the arbitrator's decision.
"The NFLPA expected this outcome, given the hearing officer's
relationship and financial ties to the NFL," the NFL Players
Association said in a statement.
"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."
[to top of second column]
Peterson is one of the NFL's highest profile players.
His son had cuts and bruises over much of his body after the
"The facts in this appeal are uncontested," Henderson wrote. "The
player entered a plea which effectively admitted guilt to a criminal
charge of child abuse, after inflicting serious injuries to his
four-year-old son in the course of administering discipline."
The arbitrator added, "No direct evidence of the beating was entered
in the record here, but numerous court documents, investigative
reports, photographs and news reports, all accepted into evidence
without objection, make it clear that Mr. Peterson's conduct was
egregious and aggravated as those terms are used in the Policy, and
merits substantial discipline."
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Will Dunham)
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