U.S. District Judge David Doty ruled in favor of Adrian Peterson on Thursday, overturning the Vikings running back’s indefinite suspension from the NFL. The running back was handed an indefinite suspension in November, but successfully argued that the league had promised to reinstate him after his child abuse case had been resolved.
“Petition to vacate the arbitration award was granted. Case was remanded for further proceedings … as the CBA may permit,” Doty said in the ruling.
The league said that it would review the judge’s decision as it related to Peterson’s reinstatement and later issued a statement that it would appeal the ruling (via Albert Breer of NFL Network):
“Judge Doty’s order did not contain any determinations concerning the fairness of the appeals process under the CBA, including the commissioner’s longstanding authority to appoint a designee to act as hearing officer.
Hardy will become an unrestricted free agent in March. If given a two-game suspension, he should have a much easier time getting signed this offseason than if forced to sit six games.
In terms of Doty’s ruling, it was determined that the NFL attempted to punish Peterson twice for the same violation and failed to distinguish between the old conduct policy and the new policy. Henderson previously ruled that the two policies were similar, while Doty acknowledged that Goodell admitted there were changes between the two:
Nothing in the record supports a finding that the NFLPA asked Henderson to determine whether the discipline imposed was consistent with the previous Policy. Moreover, Henderson’s conclusion that the New Policy is consistent with the previous Policy is contradicted by the Commissioner’s own statements in which he acknowledged that the New Policy included “changes” to the Policy. See, e.g., id. Ex. 65, at 1 (“I made a mistake. I’m not satisfied with the process we went through, I’m not satisfied with the conclusions. And that’s why we came out last month and said: we’re going to make changes to our policies. We made changes to our discipline.”)
The entire ruling can be read below.