Players’ union asks court to hold NFL’s Goodell in contempt
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The NFL players’ union has asked a federal court to hold the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell in contempt for not complying with a federal judge’s order to send Adrian Peterson’s disciplinary case back to an arbitrator.
The filing on Tuesday alleges that Goodell and the league “have deliberately ignored both the court’s decision from 11 weeks ago and our repeated requests to comply with that order.”
On Feb. 26, U.S. District Judge David Doty ordered the NFL to change its decision to suspend the Minnesota Vikings running back indefinitely after he injured his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch last year in an attempt to apply discipline.
Peterson’s suspension was lifted last month by Goodell, but the running back has not joined the Vikings and arbitrator Harold Henderson has yet to issue a new ruling after the initial discipline was vacated. The union alleges in the filing that the league has instructed Henderson not to act until its appeal of Doty’s ruling is heard by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“The delay tactics, inconsistencies and arbitrary decision making of the league has continued to hurt the rights of players, the credibility of the league office and the integrity of the collective bargaining agreement,” NFLPA President Eric Winston said. “In the absence of any action by the NFL’s governing board of owners, the players have acted to hold the NFL accountable to our players, the CBA and to the law.”
Peterson missed all but one game last season while dealing with the child abuse charges in his home state of Texas. He entered a no-contest plea to a misdemeanor charge and lost three weeks of pay as part of the discipline that was originally imposed by the NFL and upheld by Henderson.
“There is no basis for the union’s action,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. “The district court’s decision on Adrian Peterson is on appeal to the Eighth Circuit. In the meantime, Mr. Peterson was reinstated more than a month ago and he may fully participate in team activities. The only remaining disciplinary issue concerns the amount of 2014 pay to be forfeited by Mr. Peterson and that issue is presently before the Court of Appeals rules.”
The discipline for Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy is also raised in the filing. Hardy is appealing a 10-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the league after the league concluded in April that there was “credible evidence” he abused his former girlfriend when he was a member of the Carolina Panthers. The union claims the decision applies a new personal conduct policy that was applied retroactively after the league adopted a new tougher personal conduct policy.
Henderson is scheduled to hear Hardy’s appeal as well, though the union has asked Henderson to recuse himself.
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