NFL suspends Peterson for the rest of the season … but might he still play?

Adrian Peterson

On the (maybe) Adrian Peterson season-long suspension (without pay):

ESPN’s story by Ben Goessling says, “The NFL announced its highly anticipated ruling Tuesday morning, stating that the Minnesota Vikings’ star running back will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15, 2015, for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The NFL’s punishment of Adrian Peterson was so thorough it likely means the end of Peterson’s time in Minnesota … . The league said it informed Peterson of the ruling in a letter from commissioner Roger Goodell, who spelled out a path for his return to the field. … But a league source told ESPN’s Ed Werder that it is ‘very possible’ that Peterson could return to the field for this Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, pending a ruling by the independent arbitrator in Monday’s grievance hearing. The NFL Players Association quickly announced its plan to appeal and sharply rebuked what it calls the league’s inconsistency and unfairness in the process.”

Nancy Armour of USA Today says, “Vengeance isn’t justice, no matter how Roger Goodell tries to cloak it. The NFL commissioner didn’t “get it right” by suspending Adrian Peterson for the rest of the season without pay for abusing his 4-year-old son. He was unduly punitive. He was patronizing. He was petty. Worst, Goodell showed that despite all those experts he’s brought in and the listening sessions he’s had, he and the NFL still don’t have a clue on how to address domestic violence.”

For the Boston Globe, Michael Gee compares Commissioner Roger Goodell to … Barney Fife. “If NFL owners use their good business sense instead of their collective smugness, Peterson will re-enter the league about the same time Goodell is leaving it. Nothing is more dangerous to an organization than a bungler hell bent on doing the right thing, unless it’s a weak leader trying to make a show of strength. Goodell has spent the last six months qualifying on both counts. His improvisational acts of player discipline have exposed the NFL to scorn, ridicule and worst of all, possible financial damage.”

At MPR, Bob Collins sees it differently. “NFL [Commissioner] Roger Goodell found something he’s been lacking in recent years when it comes to dealing with the league’s criminal element: a spine.

For Sports Illustrated, Doug Farrar writes, “What could Peterson have done to stem this tide? He could have shown more obvious remorse in a way that would have appeased Goodell, whether he felt it or not. He could have made whatever materials the NFL wanted available, whether he believed or not that he was going to get a fair hearing. He could have avoided saying in a public statement that the league was operating a kangaroo court, which certainly expanded the adversarial nature of this process. But there is no collectively bargained policy in place here, which gives Goodell and the league the ability to essentially make it up as they go along.”

One of the best people I’ve ever known in the news business has passed away. Jim Ragsdale, a colleague of mine in St. Paul before he moved over to the Star Tribune, was one of the rare professionals who saw and applied the essential element of humor to his personal interactions and work. At MPR the staff-produced story says, “Ragsdale was a talented writer who worked for long stretches at both the St. Paul Pioneer Press and its competitor across the river. He was an enthusiastic observer of Minnesota politics with a quick raspy laugh and shock of thick white hair. He is best known for his work covering former Gov. Jesse Ventura – capturing Ventura’s work both as governor with his larger than life personality as an entertainer.”

My blogging colleague, Joe Loveland writes, “Ragsdale was smart, decent, savvy, warm, and oh-so witty. Pancreatic [bleeping] cancer got him today at 64 years old, and I’m going to miss him like mad. Great musicians get their most heartfelt ovations when they come out to present one of their masterpieces as an encore.  So, the best way I can think of to honor my pal Rags is to turn the stage over to him, and run an encore publication of one of his many masterpieces … .” It’s the one about Tim Pawlenty cattin’ around with another state … Iowa.

At the Strib Kevin Duchschere says, “Star Tribune reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger, who worked with Ragsdale at both the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune, said that he ‘squeezed as much joy as he possibly could out of this year,’ traveling with his wife, Mary, seeing one of his daughters married and taking in Twins’ games at Target Field. He recently volunteered to teach English to immigrants. As a colleague, she said, Ragsdale ‘was generous and he made us all better. He saw the joy in life and he could also rant with the best of them. And he loved to write. He could put his fingers on the keyboard and they would fly, and poetry would come out.’ ”

In the PiPress Mary Divine recollects, “Longtime Capitol reporter Bill Salisbury said Ragsdale was the ‘best pure writer’ ever to work out of the Pioneer Press’ basement bureau. Ragsdale was the first reporter to realize that Ventura, elected in 1998, couldn’t be covered as other governors had been. ‘Everyone else tried to cover him as a normal governor, but Jim understood that it was ‘Jesse as entertainment,’  Salisbury said. ‘He covered it like theater’. … Ragsdale had an acute sense of the absurd — a great skill for a political reporter, said Pat Kessler, a longtime friend and Capitol reporter for WCCO-TV. ‘He was always amazed and amused by the level of political theater that comes with the job,’ Kessler said. Kessler said Ragsdale’s impression of Ventura was so ‘spot on’ that it often fooled gawkers and reporters waiting for the governor to appear. ‘Heads would suddenly turn, hoping for a glimpse of the celebrity governor’, he said. ‘Rags, of course, would collapse in laughter. That was his M.O.’ ”

For our sake I hope these two combatants are both wearing body cameras. Erin Golden of the Strib says, “Mayor Betsy Hodges said Tuesday that she and John Delmonico, the Minneapolis police union president, are planning to meet in the near future. Delmonico has been critical of Hodges after the broadcast of a KSTP-TV news story focused on a photo of the mayor, who posed with a vote canvasser with a criminal record. He asked, on air, if the mayor supported gangs or the police.  … The mayor said she’s hopeful the meeting with improve relations between her office and the union. She noted that she aims to root out long-term problems with some officers in the department, who do not represent a majority of the police force.”

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