A union representing professional football players sued the National Football League Monday on behalf of Adrian Peterson, who was suspended for hitting his child.
The lawsuit was filed by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) with the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, following their pledge to sue the NFL on behalf of the Minnesota Vikings running back if the league’s arbitrator upheld the suspension.
The league ruled that Peterson will be suspended until next spring for hitting his child with a tree branch.
In their lawsuit, the NFLPA argues that the league violated the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement because “it defies fundamental principles of notice, fairness, and consistency; and it was rendered by an evidently partial arbitrator who exceeded the scope of his authority.”
NFLPA hopes to petition the court through the lawsuit to vacate the ruling, which was upheld Friday by Harold Henderson. Henderson is a former NFL executive vice president for labor relations who was appointed as hearing officer in the case by league commissioner Roger Goodell, according to the Star Tribune.
Peterson is eligible to return in April if he fulfills requirements set by Goodell when he suspended Peterson last month.
“The Arbitration Award rejected every aspect of Mr. Peterson’s appeal and upheld Commissioner Goodell’s discipline in its entirety,” the lawsuit stated. “In so holding, the Arbitration Award sustained retroactive punishment of Mr. Peterson under Commissioner Goodell’s recently adopted Personal Conduct Policy for domestic violence (the ‘New Policy’) without the prior notice required by fundamental principles of industrial due process.”
Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that the suspension is a lot harsher than punishments given in past cases because the league was most likely reacting to public outrage instead of what would truly be a fair resolution to the situation.
“In suspending Mr. Peterson indefinitely, Commissioner Goodell [was] apparently motivated by public calls for his resignation due to prior disciplinary failures,” the lawsuit claimed.
Last week, the union said they were not surprised that Henderson upheld Goodell’s suspension given their prior relationship.
“The NFLPA expected this outcome, given the hearing officer’s relationship and financial ties to the NFL,” the NFLPA said in a statement Friday. “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.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation could not reach the NFL for comment.
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