Hopefully, through all the turmoil, court appearances and heaps of bad publicity, Peterson has become a better father, one who, first of all, takes a more active role in his children’s lives and, second, figures another way to exact punishment.
He says he has. After a judge overturned his suspension last week, a victory he desperately needed after so many losses—of his team, his income for the season and his reputation—Peterson issued a statement that, hopefully, spoke to his mindset.
“I was pleased to learn about [U.S. District] Judge [David] Doty’s decision,” the statement said. “It is a positive step in protecting players’ rights and preserving due process for all players.”
Doty ruled Thursday that NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson exceeded his authority in suspending Peterson. Doty ordered the case back to arbitration.
That was important to Peterson as he tries to find a team; it appears there is some animosity between player and the Minnesota Vikings, where Peterson performed brilliantly. But the heart of his position came in the second half of the statement, which read:
“As I prepare for my return to football, I am still focused on my family and continue to work to become a better father every day.”
We can only believe Peterson is sincere. It will be virtually impossible to quantify if he learned something about fatherhood through this fiasco. But if he has any scruples whatsoever, he has probably overdosed on fatherly advice from friends and strangers alike.
He has endured the repercussions of his violent reaction to his child, from the NFL and the public. It’s time for Peterson, who turns 30 in three weeks, to get back to football.
But no one is sure when the legal part of this will be over. The NFL, which said it disagreed with Doty’s ruling and will appeal it, put Peterson on the commissioner’s exempt list, making him ineligible to play or participate in team activities until his legal proceedings have run their course. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had suspended Peterson until at least April 15.
“Judge Doty’s order did not contain any determinations concerning the fairness of the appeals process under the CBA [collective bargaining agreement], including the commissioner’s longstanding authority to appoint a designee to act as hearing officer,” the NFL’s statement said.
The time to judge him as a father has expired. Peterson has suffered enough and should be allowed to once again don an NFL uniform.