Last night, at about quarter after 10 PM local time, I put together my story about the injury reports for the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots and was getting ready to wrap up my evening and head to bed.
Then, word of the story came across Twitter and various internet sites, and about four hours (and around a dozen stories) later I finally decided I'd had enough for the evening/morning and went to bed. Now that I've had a little time to sleep and at least attempt to process all of this stuff, I want to try to organize my thoughts on this whole thing. It might not flow terribly well, but I want to make an effort to get this down here somewhere. So, here we go.
1) I think we can expect to not see Adrian Peterson again for a very long time, and maybe never again in a Vikings uniform.
Yes, I know, "innocent until proven guilty" and so forth. Save it. We've seen pictures. We have a statement from Peterson's attorney that says everything short of "yeah, he did it." This is going to go to a trial eventually, and it's entirely possible that it could be a while.
Remember what happened in the Chris Cook incident back in 2011? The team suspended him for as long as they were able, and then put him on paid leave. . .he still got his check every week, but he wasn't allowed anywhere near the team and was deactivated every week. He went to trial after the 2011 season, in March of 2012, when he was acquitted of the charges. (He was never suspended by the league for the incident.)
I wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing happen with Peterson. We don't know how this is going to shake out in regards to the league's new personal conduct policy that we've been hearing about in connection with the Ray Rice incident. But this could drag out for a while, and if it does, I think that Adrian Peterson is going to be a spectator for quite a while. In my opinion, the Vikings are handling this exactly the right way.
2) I think that Ted was exactly right.
I saw Ted's post on this story when I got up and logged on this morning. I haven't started to wade into the comments section, because I'm afraid it would cause me to throw my laptop off of my balcony and. . .well, I sort of need my laptop.
But people can talk about how Adrian Peterson was just "disciplining his child" all they want Again, we've seen the pictures and, keep in mind, this was a 4-year old child (not an 11-year old child as was originally reported). And when Ted says that what happened to this child was not "discipline," but rather "abuse," I completely agree with him.
Tell me. . .what, exactly, could a 4-year old child do that could possibly justify what we've seen in the pictures of the incident thus far? And keep in mind. . .the pictures did not come from an hour after the incident. They did not come from a day after the incident.
... According to police sources, the pictures were taken 5-7 days (if not more) after the "whooping."— nick wright (@getnickwright) September 12, 2014
Again, what could a 4-year old potentially do that could justify a "whooping" so bad that you can still see marks a week later? Children barely know right from wrong at that point in their development, if they know it at all.
So, yeah, Ted's right. Read his post on this if you haven't already.
3) I think that what happened to you or anyone else as a child means less than nothing in this case.
"Well, when I was a kid, my (insert authority figure here) smacked me with a/an (insert implement of choice here) whenever I did something bad, and I turned out just fine!" Well, whoop-de-damn-doo. That means jack squat.
Again, we can talk about corporal punishment and "spankings" and whatever. This was not a "spanking." This was a beating. A beating that Adrian Peterson has admitted to administering. . .really, I can't emphasize that enough. . .through the statement from his lawyer, as well as messages to the child's mother that have come out from the various reports.
So no, I don't care if you got the switch or the belt or the wooden spoon or whatever it might have been, and it means absolutely nothing as far as this incident is concerned.
4) I think that I don't care how other teams are handling similar situations right now.
San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald was charged with felony domestic violence on 31 August. Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy was found guilty of assaulting and threatening an ex-girlfriend back in July and is currently appealing the decision. Both of those players played in Week 1 and, to my knowledge, are on track to play this weekend. Adrian Peterson, on the other hand, will be deactivated. How do I feel about that?
Well, in the words of noted football philosopher Jay Cutler. . .
I don't give a damn about how the Carolina Panthers and the San Francisco 49ers handle their business. I'm not a fan of the Carolina Panthers or the San Francisco 49ers, I haven't spent untold hours of my life covering either of those teams, and don't care what sort of standards they're holding their personnel to. Obviously their front offices and coaching staffs and whoever else have considered all the different angles and have decided that it's okay for their guys to take the field.
The Minnesota Vikings. . .the team I do care about. . .have decided that the Peterson situation warrants him being deactivated for this week, and we'll see what happens going forward. As pointed out earlier, if the Chris Cook situation is any indicator, we're not going to see Adrian Peterson for a while.
5) I think that some people are going to attempt to make this a reflection of the Minnesota Vikings as a whole. I also think that those people are idiots.
This incident is not a reflection of the Minnesota Vikings. It is not a reflection of the Wilf family. It is not a reflection of Rick Spielman or the team's front office. It is not a reflection of Mike Zimmer or the team's coaching staff. It is not a reflection of 62 of the 63 men (counting practice squad members) that call themselves members of the Minnesota Vikings' roster.
This is a reflection of one person and one person only. I'm sure there will be numerous people out there that will attempt to spin this in a different manner. Screw those people. They're basically clueless.
6) I think that some people are letting their loyalty to Adrian Peterson cloud their judgement in this matter.
It's easy to say that someone like Chris Cook (who, yes, I keep coming back to, but it's the most similar incident I can think of) should be cut when they do something drastically stupid. Why? Because, for the better part of his time in Minnesota, Chris Cook wasn't very good. It's always easy to call for the dismissal of a middling to below average player. When a star like Adrian Peterson has something like this happen, though, suddenly things get tougher.
Don't get me wrong. . .I've written a lot of stories about Adrian Peterson in the eight-plus seasons that this website has been active. I cheered my heart out for him during everything from his setting the single-game rushing record through the entire magical 2012 season that I'm sure that none of us will ever forget. When he lost his son last season, we as fans rallied around him, as we should have.
I don't regret cheering for Adrian Peterson at any point prior to 12 September 2014, nor should you or anyone else. I sat here watching the season opener against the Rams wearing an Adrian Peterson throwback jersey, for crying out loud. How am I going to react if he's still on the team after the smoke clears from this incident?
Well. . .I'm afraid I'm going to have to cross that bridge when I get to it. I certainly can't see myself having the same level of excitement or enthusiasm for the man that I've had up to this point. Beyond that, I really don't know, in all honesty. But I do know that my loyalty is to the Minnesota Vikings. . .not to Adrian Peterson or any other individual player on this roster. And that's the thing that would make such a decision much harder than it should appear to be on the surface. Frankly. . .and this is probably going to come off sounding worse than I intend it to. . .I'm hoping that the Vikings will make that decision easy for me and for everyone else by cutting their losses sooner rather than later.
Because you know what? There was Minnesota Vikings football before Adrian Peterson got to Minnesota, and there will damn sure be Minnesota Vikings football after he's gone, whether it's via retirement or release or whatever. And if SB Nation will continue to have me, I'll continue to be here for Minnesota Vikings football, whether Adrian Peterson is a part of it or not.
So, now that I've probably offended just about everybody in some way, shape, or form, I'm going to leave it at that for now. As things develop and I attempt to process more and more of this, I may add more later on. But that's what I have at the present time.