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Adrian Peterson's suspension upheld

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson leaves court

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson leaves court accompanied by his wife, Ashley Brown Peterson, in Conroe, Texas. Credit: AP / Billy Smith II

An appeals officer has upheld Adrian Peterson's six-game suspension, meaning the running back will miss the Vikings' final three games.

Former NFL executive Harold Henderson, who heard Peterson's appeal last week, made the ruling, which was announced by the NFL late Friday afternoon.

Peterson, who hasn't played since the opener, pleaded no contest Nov. 4 to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault in the disciplining of his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch in May. Commissioner Roger Goodell on Nov. 18 announced a six-game suspension, which came on the heels of a paid leave of absence for Peterson. He is not eligible for reinstatement until April 15, according to Goodell's decision.

The commissioner appointed Henderson, the former head of the NFL Management Council, as the appeals officer. Henderson concluded in his ruling, a copy of which was obtained by Newsday, that Peterson "has not demonstrated that the process and procedures surrounding his discipline were not fair and consistent . . . He was afforded all the protections and rights to which he is entitled, and I find no basis to vacate or reduce the discipline."

Peterson, 29, said in an interview with Friday night that he is so upset with the NFL's handling of his situation that he is considering retirement and might pursue a career in real estate or train for the Olympics in the 200- and 400-meter dashes. He also said he plans to file a lawsuit against the league.

"I've considered retiring from the NFL," he said. "I've thought about getting back into the real estate [business in Texas] . . . I've thought about going after the Olympics. I love playing football, but this situation is deeper than that. For me, it's like, 'Why should I continue to be a part of an organization or a business that handles players the way they do? . . . Why not pursue that [Olympic] dream and pursue other dreams and hang up the cleats?"

In a statement released by the NFL Players Association, which represented Peterson, the union accused Henderson of showing favoritism toward the NFL in his ruling.

"The NFLPA expected this outcome, given the hearing officer's relationship and financial ties to the NFL," the statement read. "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. Our union is considering immediate legal remedies."

In his ruling, Henderson said Peterson's disciplining of his son "is arguably one of the most egregious cases of domestic violence in this commissioner's tenure -- the severe beating of a 4-year-old child, with a tree branch, striking him repeatedly about the body and inflicting injuries visible days later . . . While this particular offense is rare among NFL employees, the discipline imposed here is consistent with that in the most egregious violations of the policy. There is no comparing this brutal incident to the typical violence against another adult. Therefore, I find no basis to conclude . . . that the discipline imposed is either unfair or inconsistent."

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