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“Time served” becomes a big issue in Peterson case

File photo of Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson after a season-ending loss to the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson leaves the field after a season-ending loss to the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wisconsin in this file photo taken January 5, 2013. The 2-year-old son of National Football League’s Most Valuable Player Adrian Peterson died on Friday after being allegedly assaulted by his mother’s boyfriend in Sioux Falls, local media in Minnesota and police in South Dakota reported. REUTERS/Tom Lynn/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL CRIME LAW)

REUTERS

As the NFLPA pushes to have Vikings running back Adrian Peterson reinstated from the Commisioner-Exempt list and as the NFL apparently prepares to impose discipline on Peterson under the personal conduct policy, a major question in Peterson’s case becomes whether he will receive credit for the time he missed while his legal case was pending.

Peterson hasn’t played in eight games since the execution of the agreement that placed him on the Commissioner-Exempt list, nine when including the game for which he was deactivated two days after his indictment in Texas. Peterson and the NFLPA surely would argue that the time missed should count when determining his ultimate punishment.

The league, in contrast, may seize on the language from the September 18 agreement suggesting that placement on the Commissioner-Exempt list does not constitute punishment under the personal conduct policy: “No discipline will be processed or imposed against the player, by the Club or the League, until after the pending criminal charges are adjudicated.”

Of course, that’s the same agreement on which the NFL has reneged. Peterson should have been reinstated 12 days ago, and he should be in uniform today.

The NFL seems to be determined to keep Peterson out of the lineup, accelerating the process for imposing discipline once the hearing was set on the question of whether Peterson should be reinstated from the Commissioner-Exempt list. Within that context, the biggest question is whether and to what extent Peterson will get credit for the nine games he already has missed.

If he doesn’t, good luck persuading players to agree to be placed on the Commissioner-Exempt list at a time when the NFL otherwise has no way to keep him off the field in the event of an arrest.