Federal judge David Doty has ruled in favor of the NFLPA's motion to end Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's indefinite suspension. The ruling vacates a previous ruling by arbitrator Harold Henderson, who upheld Peterson's suspension back in December.
Functionally, this doesn't do a whole lot to help Adrian Peterson. He was likely going to be officially back in the NFL shortly after April 15, the first day he would have been allowed to apply for reinstatement, but this does give him a little more time to work on finding a way out of Minnesota, something he seems set on accomplishing.
This is a meaningful victory for the NFLPA, though, which has now successfully appealed two big suspensions on the grounds that Roger Goodell is making shit up as he goes along. Ray Rice had his indefinite suspension overturned in November when a judge ruled that Goodell essentially punished Rice twice for the same crime, and Peterson's suspension has been vacated because Goodell retroactively applied his new tough-on-domestic-violence personal conduct policy to Peterson's case when dishing out his punishment. Henderson ruled that the old personal conduct policy was basically the same thing as the new policy, thus giving Goodell the power to suspend Peterson for as long as he did. Doty disagreed:
Nothing in the record supports a finding that the NFLPA asked Henderson to determine whether the discipline imposed was consistent with the previous Policy. Moreover, Henderson's conclusion that the New Policy is consistent with the previous Policy is contradicted by the Commissioner's own statements in which he acknowledged that the New Policy included "changes" to the Policy. See, e.g., id. Ex. 65, at 1 ("I made a mistake. I'm not satisfied with the process we went through, I'm not satisfied with the conclusions. And that's why we came out last month and said: we're going to make changes to our policies. We made changes to our discipline.")
Here's the full ruling: