Embattled NFL running back Adrian Peterson said that he was grateful for a federal judge's ruling that appears to pave the way for a faster reinstatement, and that he is working every day to be a better father, according to a statement released Friday.
“I was pleased to learn about [U.S. District] Judge [David] Doty's decision,” Peterson said in the statement. “It is a positive step in protecting players' rights and preserving due process for all players.”
Doty ruled Thursday that NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson exceeded his authority in suspending Peterson. Doty ordered the case back to arbitration.
“As I prepare for my return to football, I am still focused on my family and continue to work to become a better father every day,” Peterson said in the statement.
Still, it might be some time before Peterson returns to the field. The NFL, which said it disagreed with Doty's ruling and will appeal it, put Peterson on the commissioner's exempt list, making him ineligible to play or participate in team activities until his legal proceedings have run their course.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had suspended Peterson until at least April 15.
"Judge Doty’s order did not contain any determinations concerning the fairness of the appeals process under the CBA [collective bargaining agreement], including the commissioner’s longstanding authority to appoint a designee to act as hearing officer," the NFL's statement said.
Peterson was accused of child abuse at the beginning of the 2014 season. He pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault in November stemming from an incident in which he hit his son with a tree switch.