Adrian Peterson the banished star of the Minnesota Vikings won an important battle on Thursday in his ongoing fight with the National Football League. A federal judge vacated an award handed down by an arbitrator that upheld the running back’s suspension.
However, it is still not clear whether Peterson would be reinstated by the NFL in light of the judge’s ruling of 16-pages.
The case could be sent back to Harold Henderson an appeals officer, whose decision to uphold the suspension set down by Roger Goodell the NFL Commissioner of Peterson last December, drew a rebuke from the federal judge on a number of grounds.
The overturning of Peterson’s suspension was called by the NFL Players Association a victory for due process, the rule of law and fairness.
The executive director of the NFLPA DeMaurice Smith in a prepared statement said the collective bargaining agreement contains rules for the implementation of the policy on personal conduct and when the rules are not followed or violated, the union stands up always to protect the rights of it players.
Smith added that the judge’s decision was another example of the importance of neutral arbitration for the players, the good of the owners and of the game.
The NFL announced that it would review the judge’s ruling, but did not say it would appeal.
Originally, Goodell suspended Peterson for the remainder of the 2014 season and reinstatement was not allowed before April 15, following the plea of no-contest by Peterson to a charge of injuring his son, who was four years old at the time, while handing out discipline. The charge is a misdemeanor.
Harold Henderson, the appeals officer, who spent close to 20 years working in the NFL offices, upheld the December 12 decision by Goodell calling the situation one of the most egregious incidents of domestic violence in the 9-year tenure of Goodell.
However, the federal judge vacated the award by Henderson. He said the award failed to draw its essence form CBA and that the arbitrator strayed far beyond issues submitted by the NFLPA. By doing so, he exceeded the authority he has as an arbitrator.