Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson has now been officially reinstated into the NFL after missing most of last season without pay. He was indefinitely suspended after an arrest on child abuse charges. Peterson will be forced to continue counseling and any further violation of the league’s personal conduct policy could lead to him being banned from the NFL for life.
I don’t have an issue with him being reinstated. The state of Texas accepted a plea deal that dropped his charge from a felony to a misdemeanor and also mandated counseling. I don’t think it’s the league’s place to deny a man his right to make a living and support his family, especially one with at least six kids from multiple mothers.
He’ll be headed back to a Minnesota team that drafted him 7th overall in 2007. While playing there he was selected to six pro bowls and was the league MVP in 2012. There seems to be some dissension within the organization about his return, but the team has said publicly that they plan to welcome him back.
This I do have a problem with. The charges against Peterson originated because he beat his four year old son with a tree branch, causing cuts and bruises to his thighs, back, and testicles. The child told authorities that he had been previously punched in the face and that the leaves from the switch were shoved in his mouth to prevent any further crying out. This took place in Peterson’s “whooping room”, a dedicated area of the house just for punishment.
There have also been allegations of Peterson leaving a scar over another son’s eye for cursing. His response was that he “never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son.” I try not to judge other parents. I’ve yet to find a hand slap or smacked ass necessary and hope I never do, but I see a dedicated “whooping room” in a different category.
So I am judging Adrian Peterson. I think he’s a piece of garbage.
Peterson is almost thirty years old, the age when most running backs historically begin to show decline in production. Prior to his suspension he had off season surgery three years in a row, including an ACL repair in 2011. The Vikings will pay him 12.75 million dollars for 2015.
But he’d only cost them 2.4 million against the salary cap this year if they just simply cut him. He has said repeatedly that he doesn’t want to return to the team that he doesn’t feel supported him strongly and publicly enough. I understand the concept of trying to trade him away in order to receive some compensation for his loss, but it doesn’t seem likely. Cutting him now makes sense from both a moral and football operations standpoint.
I started off by saying that I don’t believe the NFL league office has a right to deny Adrian Peterson employment. The team owners and general managers do have a choice, however. They should choose to send him to the unemployment line.