U.S. District Judge David Doty found that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had no authority to retroactively apply the NFL’s new policy and that NFL arbitrator Henderson “simply disregarded the law of the shop and in doing so failed to meet his duty under the [Collective Bargaining Agreement signed on August 4, 2011].” The judge remanded the case to follow further proceedings under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement.
Peterson had been suspended until at least by April 15 pursuant to the new personal conduct policy that increased a suspension for players involved with domestic violence from two games to six games.
Expressing the league’s plan to appeal the decision, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy stated,
“We believe strongly that Judge Doty’s order is incorrect and fundamentally at odds with well-established legal precedent governing the district court’s role in reviewing arbitration decisions. As a result, we have filed a notice of appeal to have the ruling reviewed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.”
In the meantime, Peterson will be on Goodell’s exempt list again “pending further proceedings by appeals officer Harold Henderson or a determination by the Eighth Circuit Court,” according to McCarthy. Moreover, McCarthy said players on the exempt list could be traded, released or have contracts modified on March 10.
Responding to the court’s decision, the Vikings also released a statement:
“Adrian Peterson is an important member of the Minnesota Vikings, and our focus remains on welcoming him back when he is able to rejoin our organization. Today’s ruling leaves Adrian’s status under the control of the NFL, the NFLPA and the legal system, and we will have no further comment at this time.”