Peterson lawyer, NFL official duel over Goodell decision

Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:38pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - The National Football League believes the Adrian Peterson child punishment case has an important ripple-effect, but his lawyer insists Commissioner Roger Goodell is making the Minnesota Vikings running back a scapegoat.

NFL executive vice president and general counsel Jeff Pash on Wednesday defended Goodell's decision to suspend Peterson for at least the rest of the season for an "incident of abusive discipline" on his 4-year-old son.

Pash told ESPN Radio the NFL had a responsibility to players "unfairly tarnished by the misconduct of a few," and to the fight against domestic abuse.

"One thing that Commissioner Goodell is absolutely committed to is to upholding not only the reputation of the league but the reputation of the thousands of men who play in the league and who are good, hard-working, decent, law-abiding citizens," Pash said.

Rusty Hardin, who represented Peterson in the Texas criminal case over injuries his son sustained from discipline he administered, said Peterson's no-contest plea to a misdemeanor assault charge did not rise to domestic abuse.

"A father believed he had the right to discipline his children. He made a mistake. In unintended consequences, his son was hurt," Hardin said earlier on Wednesday to ESPN Radio.

"He pled to a court and accepted punishment and wanted to resume his career, and now the NFL has decided they’re going to be the arbiter of what’s appropriate discipline for a child and whether a person is or is not feeling significant remorse."

Peterson, originally charged with a felony, was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine by the court and perform community service.   Continued...

Dec 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) talks on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports