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NFL suspends Peterson for at least rest of season

Adrian Peterson was notified by the league Tuesday morning that he has been suspended without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 NFL season.

Peterson will be considered for reinstatement "on or around April 15," according to a letter from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The letter to Peterson also read, "The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision. ...You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy."

Adrian Peterson's father, Nelson, said neither he nor Adrian would have any comment on the suspension.

Within minutes, the NFL Players Association announced their intention to appeal and demanded a "neutral arbitrator" oversee the proceedings, according to a statement from the NFLPA.

"The decision by the NFL to suspend Adrian Peterson is another example of the credibility gap that exists between the agreements they make and the actions they take," the statement also read.

In a statement, the Vikings said they "respect the league's decision" and declined to comment further "at this time."

In modifying the NFL Personal Conduct Policy August 28, Commissioner Goodell established a baseline discipline of a suspension without pay for six games for certain offenses, including a first offense of assault, battery, or domestic violence.

He also identified aggravating circumstances that would warrant higher levels of discipline.

In his letter, Commissioner Goodell identified several aggravating circumstances present in this case:

"First, the injury was inflicted on a child who was only four years old. The difference in size and strength between you and the child is significant, and your actions clearly caused physical injury to the child. While an adult may have a number of options when confronted with abuse -- to flee, to fight back, or to seek help from law enforcement -- none of those options is realistically available to a four-year old child. Further, the injury inflicted on your son includes the emotional and psychological trauma to a young child who suffers criminal physical abuse at the hands of his father.

"Second, the repetitive use of a switch in this instance is the functional equivalent of a weapon, particularly in the hands of someone with the strength of an accomplished professional athlete.

"Third, you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct. When indicted, you acknowledged what you did but said that you would not 'eliminate whooping my kids' and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child's mother. You also said that you felt 'very confident with my actions because I know my intent.' These comments raise the serious concern that you do not fully appreciate the seriousness of your conduct, or even worse, that you may feel free to engage in similar conduct in the future."

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service