Word came out yesterday that Adrian Peterson was cleared by the Vikings to play this weekend against the Saints, a somewhat curious decision. Peterson was suspended last week after child abuse charges were filed against him and the past week has only seen more disturbing details and rumors of previous allegations surface. One has to wonder if he would be playing if Minnesota weren’t so thoroughly humbled by New England their last game. So, it was not surprising to read Jeff Duncan’s pull-no-punches take on the situation this morning.
What was a little surprising was to read this piece from the Minneapolis StarTribune that is almost identical in terms of tone and the harshness of the rebuke. A harshness that is, mind you, perfectly warranted for a team that leads the league in arrests over the last decade and has a well documented pattern of harsh punishments against role players and looking the other way for front-line guys. It also includes some of the details of the most recent claims against Peterson that literally (really) made my jaw drop.
I’d seen the pictures of the marks on Peterson’s son, which you can see here, along with a fuller account of Peterson’s statements to the police. They’re pretty self-explanatory, but the parts about shoving leaves in the child’s mouth as he was being whipped – actually, let me digress. The kid wasn’t being “spanked or “whipped” or “whooped”. He was being beaten. Make sure you understand that. Adrian Peterson grabbed a four year old child, shoved leaves in his mouth, beat him literally bloody with a stick and threatened him if he told anyone. That last part is important since Peterson told police he considered what he did normal parenting, but if it was so normal, why threaten the child into silence?
As a child who was raised in the south and regularly received corporal punishment in the form of spanking, both with hand and belt, and the occasional switch, I can tell you that never, not once, did that punishment leave such marks on me. NEVER. I’m not going to get into the should-or-shouldn’t-you of corporal punishment in general, but what those pictures show isn’t parental discipline, it’s parental abuse. If that’s the type of punishment Adrian Peterson endured as a child, then Adrian Peterson was an abused child, one who is now an abusive parent and in process of starting that cycle all over again with his kids.
This isn’t about old school vs. new school or political correctness gone wild. This should be as easy as knowing right from wrong. When a four year old child pushes another child, there are a myriad number of ways to correct that behavior, but none of them should involve a thousand percent escalation of violence against that four year old. If you’re thinking, “Well, it’s his kid,” then consider how you would react if Adrian Peterson did that to your child.
Adrian Peterson is a child abuser and the only people who don’t seem to realize it are Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings.
UPDATE: The Vikings now seem to realize it.