ABC News has obtained a recording of a phone call between NFL executive Troy Vincent and Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, which Peterson's lawyer's claim shows the league promised Peterson a two-game suspension instead of the full-season ban that was handed down and upheld under appeal on Friday.
At his appeal, Peterson claimed Vincent, the league's executive vice president of operations, had told him the NFL would consider the months he had sat out with pay while facing child-abuse charges time served. On phone call, Peterson attempted to clarify if the two games Vincent mentioned would be in addition to his time on the Commissioner's Exempt List, or concurrent with it. Vincent appeared to confirm the later.
"It will be two additional games, not time served?" Peterson asks on the Nov. 12 recording.
"No, it won't," Vincent corrects him. "The one this weekend. So really, it's just next week and you ... you're rolling. You're back."
Six days later, the NFL announced Peterson was suspended indefinitely, and would be eligible to apply for reinstatement in April 2015.
The audio—which was recorded at Peterson's end, with Vincent on speakerphone—was entered into evidence at the unsuccessful appeal of his suspension. In addition to what they claim was a promise that Peterson would get back on the field after Minnesota's Week 12 game against Green Bay, Peterson's lawyers allege that the tape is proof that the league punished him for skipping a Nov. 14 hearing he believed was not required
"So two games?" Peterson asks to confirm.
"Yeah," Vincent says. "That is...you've got to act, just go through the process."
Vincent also told Peterson, according to Bloomberg, that the NFL's new domestic violence policy, announced in August, would not apply to him because his crime took place before it was enacted. "You are not subject to the new Personal Conduct Policy," the transcript shows Vincent saying to Peterson, and as such wouldn't be subject to the mandatory six-game suspension.
So how did Peterson end up getting, effectively, six games? The NFL-appointed arbitrator ruled that the league's domestic violence policy conveniently isn't actually a new policy, despite all the noise the NFL made about it at the time.
The NFLPA is expected to file a federal lawsuit against the NFL, on Peterson's behalf, as early as today.