Finally, some common sense.
Make that common decency.
Adrian Peterson won’t be wearing a Minnesota Vikings uniform Sunday when his team plays the Saints.
And if justice is served, the next uniform he does wear will have a different number than “28” and feature stripes.
In one of the most clueless moves in the history of sports, the Vikings on Monday reinstated their All-Pro running back, whom they’d deactivated for last Sunday’s game against New England when child abuse charges were filed against him in Texas three days before even though Peterson had somewhat unapologetically admitted “whipping” his 4-year-old son with a switch in his special room which also contains a collection of belts.
“I got kinda good wit the tail end of the switch,” Peterson bragged in a text to the boy’s mother.
“To be honest with you, I feel very confident with my actions because I know my intent,” he told Montgomery County authorities where the whipping took place.
Then, late Tuesday night, after a public outcry that included condemnation from the governor of Minnesota, sponsors threatening to end their relationships with the team and revelations of a similar incident last year with another 4-year-old son (Peterson, 29, acknowledges having fathered at least seven children by an unknown number of women), the Viking reversed course by placing him on something called the Exempt/Commissioner’s List (sounds almost like it’s something to be proud of.) until the charges are resolved.
With pay, of course, although it should be placed in an escrow fund for his numerous offspring.
The rest is likely to be spent on high-priced lawyers trying to get Peterson out of this.
Which he shouldn’t.
If you haven’t seen the pictures of his son’s wounds and have a strong stomach, check them out on TMZ Sports.
They’re bad, especially considering that the pictures were made a week after Peterson inflicted his brand of punishment on the 4-year-old. Also, realize that Peterson took the child’s pants and underwear down instead of letting them hopefully soften the impact of the blows a 217-pound professional football player can inflict.
The thing I can’t get out of my mind is that the child (Peterson doesn’t deserve to be identified as his father anymore) is wearing “Cars” underwear. Next to “Toy Story 3,” that’s my 6-year-old grandson’s favorite movie.
I can’t imagine my reaction if anybody ever did anything like that to Jake.
What did this little boy do to deserve it? We don’t know. Maybe he broke his sippy cup.
Wouldn’t maybe a swat on the butt have sufficed?
Inside the Saints locker room Wednesday, it was hard to find condemnation from the players.
“I feel like he should be playing,” said wide receiver Robert Meachem, who has two daughters. “Growing up as a kid, you usually get spankings.
“The way we grew up back in the day, you got spanked. It made me what I am today, so I understand why he did what he did.”
Added guard Ben Grubbs, the father of four, ranging from age 9 to 1 month, “You have to discipline your kids, but you can take anything overboard.
“A spanking can very easily turn into a beating. And a beating is definitely over the line.”
Ask Staci LeBlanc about what’s over the line.
As executive director of the New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center at Children’s Hospital, she sees nearly 1,500 injured children come through her agency’s doors each year, and 95 percent of them are the result of parental abuse.
“Research has shown that spanking, even without injuring, leads to aggressions in children and that within 10 minutes most are misbehaving again.
“Children also become afraid to go to their parents in time of trouble because they are afraid they’re going to get spanked again. There are other ways to discipline children.”
But in the Saints locker room, that message would largely fall on deaf ears.
Even tight end Ben Watson, who has done extensive work for Children’s Hospital, seemed reluctant to condemn Peterson.
“I can’t comment specifically on what happened with him and his son because I don’t know,” said Watson, who has four children. “But as far as discipline goes, I got spanked and I’m a firm believer that you discipline out of love.
“There are cases where people go too far in their anger. But I’m not saying if that’s what Peterson did or not.”
Maybe that’s because there seems to be some kind of romanticized nostalgia about how physical punishment, whether dealt out by parents, grandparents, teachers or coaches, somehow straightened you out, even if it didn’t.
Safety Kenny Vaccaro pointed out that if you were from rural Texas, as he and Peterson are, getting whipped with a switch you had to pick off a tree yourself (“I always tried to get the skinniest ones”) was an almost everyday experience.
But Vaccaro, who added that Peterson is his all-time favorite player, admitted that he was never made to strip the leaves off the switch and put them him in his mouth during the whipping as Peterson supposedly did.
Drew Brees, a Texan like Peterson and Vaccaro, declined comment, saying he’d rather talk about football.
Some are saying this is cultural and the charges are an overreaction. But remember they were filed in Texas, not Minnesota.
Also, while Peterson’s actions may be the result of the abuse he received when he was a child, last October, a 2-year-old son of his — who Peterson did not know about until a few months before — was killed by the boyfriend of the child’s mother.
One would think such a traumatic event would make Peterson cherish his children even more. That doesn’t appear to be the case though.
Whatever the outcome of this, Peterson’s career is effectively over. If and when he is reinstated, he’s going to be more radioactive than Ray Rice.
Too bad. Adrian Peterson is a great football player.
But he is one sorry excuse for a human being.