Christian NFL player Adrian Peterson finished presenting another appeal in federal court today in an attempt to get reinstated into the Minnesota Vikings football team that he's been a part of since being drafted in 2007.
"I felt like a got a fair hearing, for once. I appreciate all the support from my fans," Peterson said after leaving the court room on Friday.
The appeal hearing, which lasted just over an hour, was held at the packed U.S. District Court in downtown Minneapolis to present arguments from Peterson's attorney stating that the NFL player's suspension "reflects a retroactive application of a new policy, that the arbitrator who upheld his suspension was not impartial, and that the suspension imposes discipline not permitted by the labor deal."
Peterson was originally indicted on child abuse charges on September 11, 2014 by a Montgomery County, Texas grand jury on charges that he beat his four-year-old son with a tree branch on his back, legs, genitals, and ankles. The incident allegedly happened on May 18, 2014, and caused bleeding and visible welts on the child's body.
In response, the NFL suspended Peterson for one game, but he was soon terminated for the rest of the season. Peterson tried an initial appeal in December, but appeals officer Harold Henderson said that Peterson's rights weren't violated and the appeal stood. Today's hearing was for a federal court appeal by the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) on behalf of Peterson's claim that the original suspension wasn't valid.
Peterson's goal is to be immediately reinstated, preferably before the March 10th deadline that would make Peterson a free agent. If he can be reinstated before that day, he would be eligible to play for any other NFL team in the league's new year. So far, the only team showing interest in Peterson is the Dallas Cowboys.
During the suspension, officials report that Peterson has been complying with all suspension requirements imposed by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league says they are aware of Peterson's "good behavior." This could mean an expedited ruling on the appeal, but probably not by Peterson's target March 10th date. April 15th is the current date that the NFL is aiming for Peterson's reinstatement.
Peterson's push for March 10th is more to secure his options, but the star running back says that he'd ultimately like to stay with the Vikings.
Adrian Peterson was drafted to the Vikings in 2007 after a successful college career at the University of Oklahoma where he set the NCAA freshman rushing record of 1,925 yards. By the time Peterson graduated, he became the Sooners' third all-time leading rusher right behind Billy Sims and Joe Washington.
Peterson was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2007 after setting a record for most rushing yards in a single game. He was then awarded the MVP in the Pro Bowl of that year and became the fifth player in NFL history to rush for more than 3,000 yards in his first two seasons. Since then, he's gone on to earn another MVP award and AP's NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award for his 2012 season.
The 29-year-old athlete identifies as Christian, regularly speaking out about his faith. During an off-season injury, Peterson explains that he had lost all hope until he turned to God for guidance. "So many different times through the rehab where I was down spiritually and just my body, mentally, things I had to do. [...] You got the devil and he's got those darts. So you can choose to bite on those or you can choose to block them out. Just listen to the thoughts that God put in there," he said in an interview with CBN.
"Without Him, doing this recovery, I had no chance - at all! No chance to do this on my own," he continued. "He kept my mind at ease, doing the rehab. For me, because I've used this principle my whole life, it was so easy to buy into it and know; put this in God's hand, have faith; that simple process, your principles that you have, having faith and believing."