Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson informed the NFL in a letter Thursday he was willing to participate in a meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss potential discipline, but wouldn’t attend a Friday hearing the league scheduled because of unanswered questions about the process, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday.
Among other things, Peterson’s side did not feel the league had clearly answered questions about the role of outside experts in the hearing, and the league wouldn’t postpone the hearing, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. The NFL had not responded to Peterson’s letter as of Saturday afternoon, the person said.
A person with knowledge of the league’s thinking confirmed the NFL informed the players’ union “that we were unwilling to postpone the hearing beyond this week given that the player and union had both expressed a strong desire to resolve this matter as soon as possible” and alternatives for this past week were rejected.
The league also has “yet to receive more than cursory materials in response to our requests for information on the case,” said the second person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. But it went forward with the review Friday as scheduled.
NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah told USA TODAY Sports the union “never agreed to the meeting,” which was first reported by ESPN. But the second person said Peterson’s side expressed no objections from the time the NFL scheduled the meeting Tuesday until Thursday morning, when the union said it was unavailable.
The person with knowledge of the league’s thinking said the hearing was to review Peterson’s case and “include a group of outside experts who could offer broader expertise on the legal, clinical and football issues involved.” Their inclusion may have been the primary sticking point, but this is part of a broader fight between the NFL and its players union.
The NFLPA has shown no inclination to participate in a process the league creates at a time the union is making a loud push for collective bargaining on a new personal conduct policy. A grievance hearing is looming Monday over another point of contention: whether Peterson should have been reinstated immediately from the exempt list upon resolution of his legal case.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Tom Pelissero