By Kevin Murphy
(Reuters) - Minnesota Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson disputed on Sunday a published report that he backed out of a meeting requested by the National Football League to discuss his future in the wake of his no contest plea to a child abuse charge.
Citing an unnamed NFL source, ESPN reported that Peterson refused to attend a disciplinary hearing the league scheduled with him on Friday.
"The report that I backed out of a meeting with the NFL is just not true,” Peterson said in a statement issued by the NFL Players Association, the union for players.
The NFL is weighing what it actions it might take against Peterson, who pleaded no contest this month in Texas to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault for hitting his 4-year-old son with a thin tree branch as a form of punishment.
Peterson has played in only one game this year. He remains on the NFL commissioner's exempt list, which means he cannot play but receives his full $11.75 million salary.
He said he was advised by the union that the hearing was inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement between the league and players.
Peterson said he had informed the NFL that he would attend a standard meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell prior to any possible discipline being imposed.
"But I wouldn’t participate in a newly created and non-collectively bargained pre-discipline 'hearing' that would include outside people I don't know and who would have roles in the process that the NFL wouldn't disclose,” Peterson said.
A story posted on the NFL’s website quoted an unnamed league official as saying that the union told the league on Thursday that Peterson was unavailable for the meeting on Friday.
The union has filed a grievance against the league seeking to immediately reinstate Peterson, a former Most Valuable Player, but the NFL said it still planned to review the case for possible discipline.
The union says its agreement with the league required that Peterson be removed from the commissioner's exempt list once his court case was settled. A conference on that issue is set for Monday, according to the NFL's website.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and W Simon)