The NFL reinstated Adrian Peterson on Thursday after he was indicted in September on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. He was placed on the Commissioner’s exempt list and only played in one game for the Minnesota Vikings last season. It’s now up in the air as to whether or not the Vikings will keep Peterson or release him; which has become the new “headline story” by the media. Once again, the media has missed the mark completely and is going after the wrong aspect of this story.
Last season was a rough one for the NFL and its image. The “shield” looked extremely tarnished after it completely botched the investigation (and punishment) of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident. The Peterson allegations just made matters worse for the NFL, who’s always tried to uphold a virtuous image amongst its professional sports contemporaries.
Peterson’s abuse of his child and lack of remorse have been truly disturbing; but why the NFL has chosen to reinstate him is even more unsettling.
Believe what you will, but there is no excuse or reasoning to physically (or mentally) abuse a child. Now, before I go any further, there’s a monumental difference between abusing and disciplining a child. Everyone’s belief system is different; I for one have no problem with spanking a child if they severely misbehave. Spanking (done correctly) will not leave a bruise, welt or mark on the child, excluding the temporary red mark that will last for all of a few minutes. Using objects like a belt or a stick (switch) are unnecessary and that’s where the line between discipline and abuse begin to blur.
What isn’t blurred is the fact that Peterson’s so called “discipline”, left his child with severe bruises and lacerations on his (son’s) back, buttocks, genitals, ankles, and legs (ESPN.com). To make matters worse, Peterson’s son was only 4 years old at the time of the incident.
I don’t care what part of the country you’re from or how you were raised, that’s the definition of physical abuse. There’s a point where people can no longer act naïve or dismissive towards acts of abuse, especially towards children. We’ve adapted as a society so ignorance is no longer a plausible excuse in this matter. While it’s understood that different parts of the country look at discipline differently, there’s still no excuse or reason to leave welts/bruises or lacerations on your child; especially one that is only 4 years old.
I’m still unclear as to the pressure the NFL was under by the players association to reinstate Peterson. If their hands were tied and didn’t have much of a choice, then that’s the way it is. However, if the players association had little say in the matter and the NFL made this decision on their own, then they should be ashamed of themselves.
My hope (although this scenario is extremely unlikely) is that most NFL teams will refuse to sign Peterson because of his deplorable actions. That the teams treat Peterson in the same “pariah-like mentality” that they’ve treated Ray Rice following his incident of domestic violence. Neither individual deserves to play in the NFL; they’re abusers, attackers, and just horrific human beings. Why any team would want someone with that little character or integrity on their roster is beyond me; but then again, sports teams have never valued who someone is, rather what they can do and how they (the team) can profit from it.