Adrian Peterson has entered a plea of no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault. The plea permits him to avoid jail time in his child abuse case. However, Peterson will not be returning to play for the Vikings immediately, as he had hoped. He remains on the NFL Commissioner’s exempt list, which allows him to be paid but bars him from team facilities. Attorney Jeff Smith discusses the case.
Smith opines that the case has been handled appropriately. The biggest issue for Peterson is what people think of him and what effect the case will have Peterson’s return to the playing field. Smith believes that Peterson will have a lot of public sympathy for him and his background. And Peterson is a superstar.
Another issue, Smith says, is “how the NFL is perceived as an example in our society.” The league is trying to run its business in such a way as to attract new customers, including women. The NFL will have to keep a watch on situations like this, should they arise in the future, and move positively for the benefit of all the parties involved and for the benefit of professional football.
Everyone involved will have to work to reestablish Peterson as a good person in the public eye, a person whom fans can trust. Smith thinks that this is happening, based on statements appearing in the press. “I think [he] is a class act.”
As to the future, Smith believes that players involved in criminal situations should be immediately suspended. The league should also do a better job as to player education and control. Players need to be aware that, no matter where they are or what they are doing, they are always in the public eye.
Jeffrey L. Smith is a shareholder and director at Sanders & Parks, P.C. Mr. Smith concentrates his practice on a broad range of tort litigation matters including personal and catastrophic injury, products liability law, marine and watercraft liability, warranty law, insurance coverage and liability law, public entity liability litigation, oil and gas law, liquor and dram shop liability law, and appeals. Mr. Smith regularly handles claims involving multiple of millions of dollars. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.