Over the last couple of years, I really have attempted to mellow out a bit. I've made a concerted effort to become less prone to emotional rants and things of that nature. There may be the occasional failing, but for the most part, I would like to think that I've been successful. I have also made the effort to cover the recent story concerning Adrian Peterson and his son in a low-key, balanced manner.
However, there are times when someone says something so profoundly stupid, so mind-numbingly ignorant that it has to be pointed out. With that, I give you Scott Wetzel of SiriusXM's Mad Dog Radio. I saw this mentioned by Jeff Anderson, the Vikings' communication director, on Twitter. As I was curious, I fired up my SiriusXM Online, "rewound" the Mad Dog Radio channel back to Wetzel's show, and listened to what was said. I couldn't believe it, so I ran it back again and recorded it onto my hard drive.
Now, because of fair use rules and things of that nature, I can't put the audio file up here. So, in an effort to ensure that I do not take Mr. Wetzel out of context, the following is a complete transcript of what he said. Be forewarned, it's long. . .approximately ten minutes of audio transcribed into text. . .so if you want to skim it, it will all be italicized. Again, I just want to make sure all of the applicable context is available for anyone who wants it.
Where do we begin? I'll begin with the top of the story. Not necessarily Game 1, that was overshadowed by the disturbing, heartbreaking news coming out of North Dakota, of all places, that Adrian Peterson's two-year old son. . .been apparently beaten to death by the girlfriend of his former wife that was watching his two-year old son, babysitting, in essence, taken to the hospital and as it turns out, unfortunately, the little boy dies. And now word is that Peterson will play this weekend, that's what he said this afternoon. Maybe that will change, I'll tell you, you couldn't wish that on your worst enemy.
As a father, maybe I'm a little biased on this. . .certainly, even if you don't have kids, it's a gut-wrenching story, but even if you do have kids, especially young kids as I do have three. . .I mean, it's just, I can't imagine. . .I just can not imagine dealing with the heartache of knowing that your 2-year old son in particular, my kids are a little bit older, 13 and younger, but to know that your 2-year old son was beaten to death no less. It's not even like he was sick and died or suffocated where it was a quick death. . .I mean, not that one death is necessarily better than the other, but just to twist the knife in your gut just a little bit more, to know that your 2-year old son was beaten to death by this monster, apparently, I mean. . .ugh, my life would basically end. It would. I have no qualms about saying that.
I mean, I would give. . .I love the Red Sox as much as anything, more than my wife, but I would care less if the Red Sox won or lost if I lost one of my kids. I mean, it would just. . .who cares? I lost a son or I lost a daughter. I mean, would I worry about arguing whether Tom Brady should be starting or whether Tony Romo is good or should Tim Tebow have a starting job. . .who cares? I just lost a son! Or a daughter! So I could not imagine. . .my life, I guess, it would end. I don't know what I would do.
But I know I wouldn't be able to do a sports talk show host. At least not for a long, long, long time. And I say all that not only to show, you know, the angst that I have and the sympathy that I have for the Peterson family and especially Adrian, but loyal listeners, LLs, you guys know where I'm going to go on this because it's come up before. And I'm not trying to stomp on a guy when he's down, but how in the world. . .does Adrian Peterson. . .play football two days from now, knowing he's got to bury his son? I'm guessing. . .probably do an autopsy. . .because of the circumstances around his death, probably have the funeral Monday, Tuesday maybe.
I mean, I just. . .I know my job is a little different than his, whereas mine is talking to you and showing emotion and passion and arguing sports, which on the scale of life and death is next to nil, whereas he can say, "Alright, I want to show my aggression by playing football." I do understand that, so I'll temper my criticism a little bit because that's maybe his way of venting. He can do that where I can't, I can't come on the air and just say the world sucks or turn over a microphone or knock over a monitor or something along those lines, I can't do that, where he basically can.
(Note: If you're skimming, this is where the nasty stuff starts.)
But. . .you're the Minnesota stinkin' Vikings! You're one win into the season, a season that has just got complete disappointment written all over it. I mean, you're 1-3, you're in last place, going nowhere. You're using a third-string (in essence) quarterback this week, your team sucks so bad. You don't know what you're doing with the team. Not that that should even matter. . .I don't even care if the Vikings were 4-0 and in first place and Super Bowl champion. . .you know, contenders. Which they're not. But throw in the fact that the team sucks. Throw in the fact that they don't have a quarterback. . .they don't know whether they're coming or going, the Vikings.
And now you're going to put down all this turmoil and push it aside and go out on the football field two days from now, and play football like it matters? I don't know if Adrian Peterson is a monster or a marvel. I really don't. . .but I'm leaning towards monster. I mean, I'm just. . .do you not care about your own kid? He just got murdered, for goodness sakes! And you're worried about how many yards you're gonna get? You're worried about advancing to 2-3 in the standings. . .when you're going to have to bury your son a couple of days from Sunday? You're worried about Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers? I don't understand that at all, I just don't get that. Don't get it at all. . .don't get it at all.
How could you lace yourself up, get yourself on that football field, you know, hear plays being called, and doing all the things you do in a football game as a running back. . .and, again, I get the aggression part of it, that you want to be able to vent and that's one way. You know, I understand that. . .but to me, that doesn't overcome the grief of knowing you lost a 2-year old son. This is not a 23-year old that got in a car accident, this is not a 25-year old that maybe OD'd so you knew there were some problems there. This is not a 40 or 50-year old that lived a good part of his life and certain things happen when you reach certain ages, I get all that. This is a 2-year old. And he didn't die by getting run over by running into the street to get a ball. . .it wasn't an accident, he got murdered by your ex-girlfriend or wife's boyfriend! I mean, this had to come out of the blue! And you're going to go out there and run third-down plays against the Carolina stinkin' Panthers?
Come on, Adrian! You've gotta be better than that! That is horrible. . .that is horrible! And yes, I'm being a judge and jury on this, I know you're going to get a zillion phone calls, "Oh, Scott, how can you tell someone to grieve," and, you know everyone grieves in different ways, I understand that. But you know what? There are certain times where there's a line that, I don't care who you are, it's this way or it's nothing. It's like the NFL show the other day on the concussions. Two hours of telling you how you play football, you bang your head, it's not good, you get the CTE, they should ban it, it's no good for you, blah blah blah. Two hours of this, non-stop. And that's fine.
Then, at the very end, they ask one of the leading doctors, who was a proponent of how this is no good for you, they asked her point-blank "Should football be banned? Should you not be playing football because of this?" And she said, "Well, I don't know, I can't really say that." Well, how can that be? You just finished telling us for two hours how it's no good. But if I ask that same person, "Should you drive your car off the road," she would say no. Without a shadow of a doubt, no ifs, ands, or buts, no, you should not drive your car off the road. You should not take drugs, you should not drink and drive, you know. So, what I'm telling you is when there was an open window for her to waffle on the concussion issue. . .if you cross the line and said "What about drinking and driving," she would have said "no." And the same thing with this.
If it's a 2-year old that's getting beaten to death, to me that crosses the line of "I'll leave it up to you. You can make your own choice." No, to me that's "you don't drink and drive," that's "you don't drive your car off a cliff." You don't play football this weekend. You just don't. And if you're the Minnesota Vikings, have some character, will you please? Have a little bit of backbone. Say, "You know what, Adrian? Don't do it. We don't want you. Go be with your family. Go be with your mother, your father, your brothers and sisters, whatever family members you have, go be with your friends, you know, go handle your family situation, go bury your son, and don't worry about the lousy Carolina stinkin' Panthers this weekend. We'll take care if it. We know you want to be here, we know you don't want to let your teammates down, we get all that. We're going to dedicate the game in your honor, doesn't matter if you're there or not, we'll have you there in spirit, go take care of your family." That's what the Minnesota Vikings should do. If they let Adrian Peterson play, then to me, they're just as bad as Peterson.
I don't know what I'm more disturbed about. . .well, obviously I do, I shouldn't say that. Obviously I'm more disturbed by the fact that a 2-year old got killed. But, I'll tell you, what got the blood boiling even more is knowing this idiot is thinking about playing football this weekend. And I love sports, it's my life, it's putting food on my table, it's paying my mortgage, I've lived and died sports since I was five years old, I'm the one with the little transistor radio by my bedside, going to sleep at night, listening to Red Sox games, that was me! I've lived that stereotype, so I know how much sports can be and how important it is. And it's not "just sports" in a lot of ways. But to this situation. . .it's just sports. Put down the cleats, put down the helmet, you dope, and go be with your family. Your son just got murdered.
Still with me? Good. . .hey, if you think it took you a while to read, I can assure you that transcribing it took longer. But I digress.
There's so much self-righteous and holier-than-thou junk in what Wetzel said that I don't even know where to begin. Did you catch the part where he says he "understands that everybody grieves in different ways?" Well, if I may be so bold as to object, it actually appears that Wetzel does not, in fact, understand that at all. If he did, this post wouldn't be happening because Wetzel never would have gone off on the rant/diatribe/missive that he went off on.
Adrian Peterson is not the first player that has decided he's going to take the field in the face of a personal tragedy. Just last season, both Antoine Winfield and Ravens' receiver Torrey Smith had family members that were murdered during the week and, after much deliberation, decided to take the field for their team's next games. To say nothing of situations like Brett Favre taking the field after learning of the death of his father, or any of the other situations that we can point to.
At the end of the day, the only person whose opinion should have any bearing on whether or not Adrian Peterson plays this weekend is Adrian Peterson. And regardless of what decision the man were to make, fans of the Minnesota Vikings would undoubtedly be supportive of him. Adrian Peterson wants to play this weekend? That's great! Adrian Peterson doesn't want to play this weekend? That's great, too! Adrian Peterson wants to take the rest of the season off to clear his head? Well, be safe, Adrian, and we'll see you in 2014! But when the man wants to grieve, he'll grieve, and he'll grieve however he wants. If he's wired in a manner that tells him that playing football will help him in the healing process, then give that man his pads and let him have at it.
And really, I generally wouldn't have had that big an issue with Scott Wetzel (or anyone else) having this particular stance on this. But really. . .he wants to call Adrian Peterson a "monster" and an "idiot" and a "dope" for making the decision to take the field this weekend? Look, honestly. . .a lot of us "minor" Minnesota sports personalities make jokes about "hot sports takes" and things of that nature, and I've been listening to sports radio long enough to know how a lot of these hosts work. They get a story, find out what everyone is saying about it, and then say, "Well, if everyone is saying this about this story. . .I'm going to go and say this instead." But this isn't a "hot sports take," or anything even resembling it. This is just nasty, mean-spirited invective for the sake of potentially popping a rating.
I'm not an "insider," by any means, but we here at DN are familiar with a number of folks within the Minnesota Vikings organization. And in any work center, when someone loses a family member or some other situation arises, the first thing that you almost always hear is "take as much time as you need." I would be honestly and legitimately shocked and disappointed if that wasn't the first thing that Leslie Frazier told Adrian Peterson, even before he left the Twin Cities for Sioux Falls when this situation started. I would be willing to bet a paycheck or two that the team told Peterson to take all the time that he needed, and that the decision to come back to the Twin Cities to play football this weekend is one that was made by him.
Adrian Peterson has, by all accounts, declared his intention to play this weekend. He could change his mind between now and Sunday afternoon. But whatever his decision is, there's no reason to think that he won't have the full support of his family, his friends, every one of his teammates, the Minnesota Vikings organization from top to bottom, and all of his fans. And it's a decision that he, and he alone, has the authority and the ability to make.