Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, 29, lost his appeal to overturn his suspension in the NFL, which is leading him to consider other career options going forward.
The suspension, which was handed down after allegations of child abuse became national news, would last until at least April of 2015. According to Ricky O'Donnell of SB Nation, Peterson thinks that the NFL is making an example out of him after the league reinstated former Ravens running back Ray Rice earlier this year for also violating the league's personal conduct policy.
"Of course I'd miss it," Peterson said in regards to playing on the gridiron. "It's my first love. But the reason I would be walking away from it would be (if the next steps in the process) kind of solidify that hurt from these incidents."
In an interview by Ben Goessling of ESPN, Peterson said he would consider walking away from the NFL altogether if a lawsuit would put his chances for reinstatement at risk.
"I've considered retiring from the NFL," Peterson said. "I still made $8 million dollars this year. I've thought about getting back into the real estate (business in Texas) I'm already in. That's something I've been interested in, something I'm involved in."
Peterson also told ESPN that the "thought about going after the Olympics," adding that "it might be time for me to pursue" that dream. As for the Olympic events, Peterson expressed interest in the 200- and 400-meter dashes.
"I've seriously thought about this real hard," Peterson said in regards to his Olympic dream. "I continue to pray about it, but it's been something that has been heavy, heavy on my heart."
Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports reported that the NFL Players Association filed a lawsuit Monday on behalf of Peterson at a federal court in Minnesota. Along with repeating arguments made by Peterson saying that he was subjected to a disciplinary process that didn't fall under a collective bargaining agreement, the NFLPA requested "that this Court vacate the Arbitration Award in its entirety."
USA Today Sports reported that Peterson pled no contest last month to a misdemeanor reckless assault child for disciplining his four-year-old son with a wooden switch, severely injuring the boy. Peterson, who has reconnected with his son, expressed remorse using the disciplinary method in a previous interview with USA Today on Nov. 20.
"I love my son. I love my kids, my family," Peterson said. "Like I said after I took the misdemeanor plea, I take full responsibility for my actions. I regret the situation. I love my son more than any one of you could even imagine."
Regardless of what he decides to do going forward, a coalition of black church and community leaders in Minnesota still stand behind Peterson, who claims to be a Christian. According to Libor Jany of the Minneapolis Star Tribune in a Nov. 24 post, Rev. Alfred Babington-Johnson, head of the Stairstep Foundation, explicitly stated that while his group does not condone "child abuse of any kind," he explained how, in historical terms, the black community took a different approach to child discipline as opposed to the white community.
"Much of the public discussion dominated by European American talking heads has not demonstrated any sense of legitimate cultural difference," Babington-Johnson said. "Our community is not monolithic. We have different points of view, but we believe that our broader views are not being reflected."
The coalition added that Peterson's treatment and subsequent discipline by the NFL was "inconsistent, harsh and culturally insensitive." However, the group did emphasize that they want "fairness and clarity...in the process."