Even if Adrian Peterson is cleared of all wrongdoing in the felony child abuse case against him, he is still likely to face a lengthy NFL suspension due to a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.
Basically, the reason for this is that over the course of the legal proceedings, facts will be established in court that would be considered a violation regardless of what the final verdict is. At last week’s owners meetings, the NFL's 32 owners reaffirmed this policy along with the idea that just because a player isn’t convicted doesn’t mean he hasn’t violated league rules.
It’s safe to say that the abuse accusations against Peterson—along with his “smoked a little weed” confession and possible side gig hosting orgies—would certainly warrant a suspension from beleaguered commissioner Roger Goodell. There’s certainly precedent for this type of punishment; Goodell has previously levied suspensions of varying lengths against Brandon Marshall, Adam “Pacman” Jones, and Ben Roethlisberger, so Peterson wouldn’t stand much of a chance on appeal.
A lengthy suspension would make Peterson that much more unemployable when the Vikings inevitably cut him.