Adrian Peterson looks on before a game against the Carolina...

Adrian Peterson looks on before a game against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 13, 2013. Credit: Getty Images

The NFL suspended Vikings running back Adrian Peterson without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 season on Tuesday for violating the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy. Peterson pleaded no contest on Nov. 4 in Montgomery County, Texas to reckless assault in connection with the disciplining of his 4-year-old son in May.

Peterson will appeal the suspension through the NFL Players Association. The union had sought in a grievance hearing on Monday to have Peterson removed from the Commissioner's Exempt List, a designation he had been assigned since the third week of the season. Peterson had been placed on leave, but continued to receive his salary. He will no longer be paid this season, unless the suspension is overturned on appeal.

The earliest Peterson would be considered for reinstatement is April 15, if the suspension is upheld.

The NFLPA issued a statement shortly after the suspension was announced, saying that the league's decision "is another example of the credibility gap that exists between the agreements they make and the actions they take. Since Adrian's legal matter was adjudicated, the NFL has ignored their obligations and attempted to impose a new and arbitrary disciplinary proceeding. The facts are that Adrian has asked for a meeting with Roger Goodell, the discipline imposed is inconsistent and an NFL executive told Adrian that his time on the Commissioner's list would be considered as time served. The NFLPA will appeal this suspension and will demand that a neutral arbitrator oversee the appeal."

In a letter to Peterson, commissioner Roger Goodell said that the "timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision. Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement. You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy."

Peterson's appeal is expected to be heard within a matter of days.

Goodell announced on Aug. 28 that he had established a baseline discipline of suspension without pay for six games for certain offenses, including a first offense of assault, battery or domestic violence. He also identified aggravating circumstances that would warrant higher levels of discipline. In his letter, Goodell identified several aggravating circumstances present in Peterson's case.

"First, the injury was inflicted on a child who was only four years old," Goodell wrote. "The difference in size and strength between you and the child is significant, and your actions clearly caused physical injury to the child. While an adult may have a number of options when confronted with abuse -- to flee, to fight back, or to seek help from law enforcement -- none of those options is realistically available to a four-year-old child. Further, the injury inflicted on your son includes the emotional and psychological trauma to a young child who suffers criminal physical abuse at the hands of his father.

"Second, the repetitive use of a switch in this instance is the functional equivalent of a weapon, particularly in the hands of someone with the strength of an accomplished professional athlete.

"Third, you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct. When indicted, you acknowledged what you did but said that you would not 'eliminate whooping my kids' and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child's mother. You also said that you felt 'very confident with my actions because I know my intent.' These comments raise the serious concern that you do not fully appreciate the seriousness of your conduct, or even worse, that you may feel free to engage in similar conduct in the future."

The NFL had asked Peterson and the NFLPA to furnish information that would be relevant to Peterson's case, but the league said "no information was provided beyond some of the court papers relating to his Nov. 4 plea agreement." The league again asked for more information, but none was provided.

Peterson was advised Nov. 11 that a hearing had been scheduled for last Friday to offer their views about his case, but the meeting never took place. Peterson explained in a statement through the NFLPA that he would instead "attend the standard meeting with the Commissioner prior to possible imposition of discipline, as has been the long-term practice under the [Collective Bargaining Agreement]."

"Your plea agreement in Texas, and the related violation of the Personal Conduct Policy, arise out of abusive injuries that you inflicted on your son earlier this year," Goodell said in his letter. "Based on public reports of your statements and photographs that were made public at the time of the indictment, you used a 'switch' -- a flexible tree branch -- to punish your son, striking him in the ankles, limbs, back, buttocks, and genitals, leaving visible swelling, marks, and cuts on his body and risking severe and long-term damage. The visible injuries were such that a local pediatrician in Minnesota, upon examining your son, felt obligated to make a child abuse report to the police."

The league has directed Peterson to meet with Dr. April Kuchuk, an instructor in the NYU Department of Psychiatry and a forensic consultant to the New York City District Attorney's offices and New York courts, by Dec. 1. After this meeting, Kuchuk will design a program of counseling, therapy, and community service as appropriate, which will be shared with the commissioner and NFLPA. Peterson will be expected to adhere to that program. Dr. Kuchuk will report any failure to do so to the commissioner and NFLPA.

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