Aug 28, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) warms up prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
There is no doubt that the first two weeks of the season, have been the most tumultuous that the NFL has experienced in recent memory. Ray Rice’s domestic violence case, the way it was handled by Roger Goodell (I say Goodell because he was solely in charge of player discipline) and the ensuing reaction took over Twitter for several days.
The latest scandal, involving Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson spanking his child, once again has the league in the limelight for player discipline. Since the NFL is undergoing a probe, that discipline has come from the Vikings.
The Minnesota Vikings deactivated Peterson after these allegations became public, but they have re-activated him for their game against the New Orleans. Some have called the move cowardly on the part of the Vikings.
I think its courageous to play Adrian Peterson despite the media firestorm, threatening to tarnish his name. Consider the words of a fellow teammate, Jerome Felton, in a USA Today article:
"“The Adrian I know does a lot of stuff for charity. He’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for special needs children, brings kids up here from Texas, gives them a dream and something to shoot for,” fullback Jerome Felton said. “Brings kids from the inner cities, takes them to Dick’s Sporting Goods and spends thousands of dollars of his own money. So that’s the guy I know and I’m glad to have him back on the team.”"
Many people seem to be forgetting that Adrian Peterson’s own charity (The All Day Foundation) raises money and awareness for at-risk children in the Texas area and partnered with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota for a fundraiser last fall.
Adrian Peterson is a man who has stood for every ideal that the NFL has hoped to demonstrate through it’s athletes. Since 2007, he has been the face of the Minnesota Vikings franchise for more than just his accomplishments on the field.
Adrian Peterson is playing because he is Adrian Peterson. The Adrian Peterson that the Minnesota Vikings has grown to know could not be a supporter of at-risk children in public and an abusive father in private. The Adrian Peterson that the Vikings have grown to respect and trust with their brand is not worthy of abandonment.
He isn’t playing because our society is obsessed with celebrity; if anything our society is obsessed with being politically right about everything, shunning people and situations we refuse to understand, and passing judgement on strangers to make ourselves feel morally superior.
I agree Adrian Peterson went too far in spanking his child(ren). Throughout this process thus far, we have seen Peterson grow from being 100% honest about the details surrounding his case to understanding that he went too far in his discipline.
It’s ultimately your choice to decide if you believe Adrian Peterson is some kind of sick monster who abuses his kids. His actions up to this point and the kind of man he has become should not be tossed out because of a mistake he made.
The Vikings decision to stand by him and play him this weekend is ultimately a vote of confidence of the man that the mass media seems to have forgotten about.