I don't even really know where to begin, to be honest. As most of you guys know that read this site, I was raised by a guy that was as old school as it comes. He spanked me, used a belt on me when I was a real troublemaker, even had me go pick put my own switch when I set the kitchen on fire. Yeah, I really did. Hey, I was seven. I thought Ritz crackers would come flying out of a toaster, just like in Bugs Bunny. Caught the kitchen cabinets on fire, had to call the fire department.
Got my ass whipped for that one. Butt stung, hard to sit down, all that good stuff.
Only my father never left marks like that on my legs or my rear end. My father never pulled down my pants and used a belt or a switch on my bare skin. Not once.
Many times, in situations like this, there's a healthy 'he said/she said' element to what happened. There are two wildly differing versions to the story, and the truth, the ever elusive truth, usually lies somewhere in the middle.
That doesn't seem to be the case here. There are pictures. Pictures of a four year old that wasn't disciplined, but was beaten. Beaten by a man that trains to withstand beatings, ironically enough, of 300 pound men moving at car crash speed into him. The father, Adrian Peterson, running back for the Minnesota Vikings, admits to it. He admits to 'whooping' his son. My father 'whooped' me when I was kid.
What Adrian Peterson did to his son isn't a 'whooping', it's child abuse.
The beating allegedly resulted in numerous injuries to the child, including cuts and bruises to the child's back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child's hands. Peterson then texted the boy's mother, saying that one wound in particular would make her "mad at me about his leg. I got kinda good wit the tail end of the switch."
Peterson also allegedly said via text message to the child's mother that he "felt bad after the fact when I notice the switch was wrapping around hitting I (sic) thigh" and also acknowledged the injury to the child's scrotum in a text message, saying, "Got him in nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I'm all tearing that butt up when needed! I start putting them in timeout. N save the whooping for needed memories!"
Yet somehow, it even gets worse:
According to police reports, the child, however, had a slightly different story, telling authorities that "Daddy Peterson hit me on my face." The child also expressed worry that Peterson would punch him in the face if the child reported the incident to authorities. He also said that he had been hit by a belt and that "there are a lot of belts in Daddy's closet." He added that Peterson put leaves in his mouth when he was being hit with the switch while his pants were down. The child told his mother that Peterson "likes belts and switches" and "has a whooping room."
As revolting as these allegations are to read, there's an even more troubling angle to this matter. Peterson didn't think what he did was wrong:
When Peterson was asked how he felt about the incident, he said, "To be honest with you, I feel very confident with my actions because I know my intent." He also described the incident as a "normal whooping" in regards to the "welps" on the child's buttocks, but that he felt bad immediately when he saw the injuries on the child's legs. Peterson estimated he "swatted" his son "10 to 15" times, but he's not sure because he doesn't "ever count how many pops I give my kids."
Look, I quit being the moral arbiter of what players do sometime after the Love Boat fiasco in 2005. I came to the conclusion that if a team can put up with the irresponsible actions of their players, I can cheer for them for three hours on Sunday, and not give them a second thought the other six days and 21 hours. Still, I've been a fan of this team for over 40 years, and this is the most dumbfounded I've ever been.
Think about that for a second. For ALL the gross buffoonery we've had to deal with, and that's really saying something for this franchise, this one makes me the sickest of all of them and really makes me question why I cheer for this team.
This friggin' team.
But if Nick Wright is reporting in his story is accurate, then there is no way the Vikings can keep Adrian Peterson on the team. There are a lot of things as a fan you can overlook, but there are a couple things you can't. You don't hit a woman. You don't abuse kids. Coming off the heels of the Ray Rice scandal, the Vikings have done the right thing by deactivating him against the Patriots.
They need to go one step farther and release him.
And I'm not going to go so far as saying he never should step foot on the football field again, or whether or not he should even go to prison. I don't pretend to know Texas law, and I don't know what the typical penalties are for the charges that have been brought against Peterson. If he pleas out and does probation and some kind of diversion program, then that's what the prosecutor decided was appropriate, and I won't scream from the mountain that he should be in prison.
And once he fulfills his obligation to the state of Texas, if he wants to play football again, and an NFL team wants to hire him, I'm not going to lead a protest condemning it.
I just don't want that team to be the Minnesota Vikings.