On Sunday, September 14th, 2014 the Minnesota Vikings announced that their star running back, Adrian Peterson, was deactivated following his indictment for child abuse. It was revealed that Peterson disciplined his child with a "switch" or a length of pliable stick, willow has always seemed to be a great candidate for switch material. Peterson acknowledged that as a child he was disciplined with a switch and if I'm being honest so have thousands upon thousands of others.
I would be remiss if I didn't say that children need to be disciplined, a good swift swat on the hind quarters will remind a child that whatever their actions did that was wrong has consequences. On that note that doesn't mean beating the crap out of a child because they forgot to take out the garbage or because today is Thursday and they deserve it. Discipline is a fickle little entity that has divine consequences and if used at an appropriate level is, or at least should be accepted. While it was, and in some parts still is acceptable to use a switch a child social norms dictate that it isn't.
Was the rationality of Peterson using a switch on his child acceptable? Probably not but therein lies the real issue. While a child may fear a single swat on their butt on occasion, think about how terrifying it is for a child to first of all know they are going to get disciplined with a long stick. Not only is it a stick but when swung with any velocity will make a terrifying whistle through the air before it hits the child. It has to if its going to be effective otherwise it would be like a tap with a long pencil and it wouldn't garner any "desired effects" to deter that behavior.
Obviously child abuse can be perpetrated through the use of any item being used whether it be the palm of a hand, wooden spoon, switch, coffee cord, razor strop or a plethora of other items but the fact of the matter is that child abuse is wrong and must be taken seriously. There is no reason whatsoever that makes child abuse acceptable. None. Within the issue at hand Peterson did significant physical and psychological damage to his son that can become a trigger for future abuse by Peterson and his own child.
Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings released the following statement:
Today’s decision was made after significant thought, discussion and consideration. As evidenced by our decision to deactivate Adrian from yesterday’s game, this is clearly a very important issue. On Friday, we felt it was in the best interests of the organization to step back, evaluate the situation, and not rush to judgment given the seriousness of this matter. At that time, we made the decision that we felt was best for the Vikings and all parties involved.
To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child. At this time, however, we believe this is a matter of due process and we should allow the legal system to proceed so we can come to the most effective conclusions and then determine the appropriate course of action. This is a difficult path to navigate, and our focus is on doing the right thing. Currently we believe we are at a juncture where the most appropriate next step is to allow the judicial process to move forward.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support Adrian’s fulfillment of his legal responsibilities throughout this process.
Really? So does that mean he can come back and play a game that pays him $11,750,000 a YEAR? The league has real issues with the fine line between was is correct socially and what is correct monetarily. Its okay to think that everything is great and right in the world because he sees the error of his ways but the big picture shows that one game doesn't mean squat. It is obvious that if big-ticket players screw up then the NFL does NOTHING of consequence within the realm of discipline. The assumed transparency of the legal system within the NFL is as transparent as muddy water. For years people have talked about stars getting away with anything inside the league whilst they are awaiting prosecution or resolution of legal matters.
Its abhorrent to think that the culture of violence that drips from the leaky roof of the NFL onto the heads of its fan base. The drips are inconsequential until they become a nuisance to the people that sit below it. It becomes apparent that the drips continue until such a time that the leaky roof becomes a gaping hole that the "roofers" or the NFL in this case, try to plug with paper, roofing tar and crossed fingers in hopes that it will hold. The NFL needs to flex its muscles and proactively say that despite the fact that Peterson is a star, child abuse is not acceptable and they need to suspend him until such a time that a resolution of his court case is complete.
Within the culture of the NFL it is obvious that decisions such as suspensions for child abuse and domestic violence only occur following controversy. Despite the fact that socially society has made leaps and bounds within the prosecution of abusers, the NFL still lags far behind.
As we look at the case against Peterson and his alleged abuse of his son we must keep in mind that culturally his methods for discipline aren't simply archaic, they are criminal. Under no circumstances can we equate a simple slap on the butt and the use of a switch with multiple strikes from that switch. A simple search on the internet will show through the magic of pictures the consequences of Peterson's actions. For the NFL to save face they MUST resolve their own position in the case and subsequently they have to suspend this man until the end of the season at least or until the resolution of the case in the legal system.
This is a sickening, despicable act that a father committed against his own child. I cannot find a way that I will ever respect this player. Get it together Goodell, assert your power and control against this reprehensible offense.