Published on September 13th, 2014 | by Thompson0
Vikings Brass Doing More for NFL than NFL
As a son raised by multiple “whoopings,” I didn’t want to rush a judgement of Adrian Peterson’s indictment for child abuse in Montgomery County, Texas, much like NFL commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t want to rush the judgement of Ray Rice. He ultimately did, however, rush to judgement when he should have been acquiring information. The public had no interest waiting for a punishment because they know what domestic violence looks like and didn’t need to see video to know a two-game suspension was hogwash. Unlike Goodell, I wanted as much information as I could get, just like the Vikings organization, which didn’t take long to deactivate Peterson for Sunday’s game against Tom Brady and the Patriots, and rightly so.
The Vikings decision to deactivate Peterson is a direct result of the Ray Rice and Greg Hardy situations, and not so much an indictment of Peterson’s decision to spank his four-year-old son with a switch. For those of you unfamiliar with the history of slavery and child-rearing in the South, a switch is a flexible tree branch absent of leaves used like a whip.
The Vikings were not about to make the same mistake as the Panthers, who have experienced terrible PR for allowing Greg Hardy to play despite being found guilty of domestic violence. Peterson isn’t guilty; he’s merely been charged, but the Vikings have had their fair share of PR storms and know which can be navigated. This perfect storm for the NFL is not an ideal time to go fishing.
The Ray Rice and Greg Hardy situations are totally different from the Adrian Peterson situation, and Peterson would be playing Sunday if it weren’t for the indiscretions of Rice and Hardy. There was no ambiguity in the Ray Rice elevator beating despite the new video coming out. Rice admitted to punching his then-fiancée before the video came out because he knew it would eventually come out! And he was given leniency by a judge for entering into a domestic violence program, and given leniency by Goodell for being apologetic and trying to make it work. The Hardy situation is equally unambiguous. He received no leniency, was found guilty, and is appealing.
There’s no video that we know of in the Peterson case, but there is plenty of ambiguity, because disciplining a child is a parent’s prerogative. A doctor may have determined the wounds were the result of child abuse, but a “whooping” resulting in unintended injuries is not child abuse. I’ve been beaten by worse than a switch and experienced my share of unintended injuries.
One day a friend of mine broke my neighbors’ window with a rock, and I got whooped with a plastic broom handle for being guilty by association. My dad even punched a hole in the bathroom wall while explaining that if I see someone doing wrong, “you punch ’em in the nose!” Another time my dad was cooking breakfast and was interrupted by a phone call from my school for acting up in class. He came running downstairs, metal spatula in hand, still hot with grease from the pan, and swatted me across the face, but I didn’t go and call the cops. I understood that my dad was raising me the only way he knew how – the way his father raised him. I don’t resent my father for the “whoopings.” In fact, I respect him for them, because without them I may as well have made even more mistakes had I not been disciplined as a child. I’d probably be in prison. Plus, they instilled a character that is unique to me, and it’s not a vengeful, violent character, but the character of an optimistic realist.
I think the lynchpin in the Peterson case is the unintended injuries to the groin region of the child. Had it just been welts on the buttocks, Peterson probably wouldn’t have been indicted. Peterson said in text messages and police interviews that he felt bad when he saw the injuries on the child’s legs and scrotum, but also said “I feel very confident with my actions because I know my intent.” His son, however, mentioned that “Daddy Peterson” hit him in the face, likes belts and switches, has a “whooping room,” and “a lot of belts in his closet.” He also expressed fear to his mother that Peterson would hit him in the face if he told the police. It sounds to me like Peterson is a tough-love dad and raises his kids using the methods his parents did. Although many people don’t condone that sort of child-rearing anymore, it’s not illegal to spank your child until it goes too far. Peterson may have just gone too far this time. Regardless, there is no place on the field for him while his guilt is being determined. You may be innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law, but now that the NFL dropped the ball in the Rice and Hardy situations, Peterson is guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of fans.
The Vikings are making the right decision with regards to their brand and the brand of the NFL, and they should be rewarded for sitting their superstar while the Panthers and Ravens should be punished for the way they worked to keep their stars on the field despite their vile behavior. If Peterson does indeed end up suspended, these games for which he’s deactivated should contribute to that suspension, because the Vikings are basically choosing to suspend their star running back without the NFL’s “help.” Peterson’s one of the biggest stars in the league – bigger than Rice and Hardy – and the Vikings, a potential playoff team, are sitting one of their best players regardless of how much he can help them. That’s a big sacrifice they’re making for the league. They are doing the work of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to protect their organization and the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings’ front office should be commended for their action, and Goodell should resign before he botches another suspension situation. Maybe someone from the Vikings’ front office should be commissioner. It certainly shouldn’t be someone from Carolina, Baltimore, or San Francisco.