Here are six quick thoughts on the suspension:
1. This is the league’s first venture into the new Personal Conduct Policy allowing a 6 game suspension for a first offense involving domestic violence. Some consider it overkill considering Peterson hasn’t played since Week 1 and, technically, has already missed 9 games. Nonetheless, if the suspension stands, any further violations could subject Peterson to a lifetime ban from the league.
2. Peterson has 3 days to appeal the suspension and he most assuredly will. If he appeals, Peterson will remain on the Commissioner’s Exempt List and continue to get paid. The NFLPA is lobbying for the appeal to be in front of a neutral arbitrator.
3. So, what about that Commissioner’s Exempt List? We had never heard about it until Peterson and Greg Hardy went on it after Week 2 of the season. And we likely won’t hear about it again. At the time, the league and player’s union essentially came to the conclusion that this would be a “quick fix” for sticky situations that were first impressions for the NFL. Instead, it has turned out to be a double-edged sword. It’s apparent that players who go on this list won’t receive credit for “time served.” Therefore, you can bet no player will volunteer to go on this list again.
4. That brings us to the NFLPA. They faced a delicate situation with Peterson. They have an obligation to defend all players in their association. But if they put the full might of the union behind Peterson, they risked looking insensitive to domestic abuse issues. If you remember, Peterson volunteered to go on the Commissioner’s Exempt List — with the encouragement of the union. In hindsight, it likely would have been a better move for Peterson to fight any suspension and force both the Vikings’ and the league’s hands.
5. The question that I immediately thought of when the suspension came out was — what role did the Vikings play in this? I would be hard to believe that Roger Goodell didn’t speak with Ziggy Wilf on whether the Vikings actually wanted Peterson back on the active roster this season. It is a possibility that Wilf said the team would prefer not to address the situation this season and requested to sweep it under the rug until the offseason.
6. Finally, the suspension only highlights the continued inconsistency in the suspension policies of the NFL. If the league wants to maintain credibility, then it must impose consistent, measurable, and reliable standards for its players. Otherwise, the gap will continue to widen between the league and its players and potentially, it’s sponsors who are coughing up millions of dollars per year to be part of the NFL.