Adrian Peterson’s statement doesn’t make it okay for me


I’ve spent my entire life trying to emulate the athletes that I’ve grown up watching. I’m almost 19 years old, and I don’t think that I’m anywhere near stopping trying to do that, despite the fact that I’ve long since come to the conclusion that I’m never going to be a professional athlete. But something about the promise that if you work your ass off, you will reap the benefits not only of the public glory, but knowing inside your head that you worked harder than the person next to you and it paid off, drives me. Frankly, I’m yet to find anything in my life that makes me feel better than that feeling, and that includes girls.

The reason I bring all that to light is because prior to me working out, I like to go onto YouTube and watch the greatest moments out of athletes that have already reached their peak, or have earned being placed on some sort of pedestal, because it gives me chills and makes me want to recreate something like that in my life. It doesn’t matter what sport I’m training for, watching video of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, Johnny Manziel (in college) and one Adrian Peterson at their highest moments, get me motivated to, well, strive for greatness.

The fact that Peterson was one of the athletes that I admittedly worshiped just a week or so ago, made the allegations of child abuse against him very troubling to me.

Let’s review what allegedly took place when Peterson’s four year-old son scratched his five year-old son when the two were having some sort of disagreement about whose turn it was on a game console.

Via CBS Houston 

  • According to law-enforcement sources, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson beat his 4-year-old son with a tree branch as a form of punishment this summer.
  • Peterson’s son had pushed another one of Peterson’s children off of a motorbike video game. As punishment, Peterson grabbed a tree branch – which he consistently referred to as a “switch” – removed the leaves and struck the child repeatedly.
  • 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.

Stop there. His scrotum? Damn. I don’t necessarily agree with any form of physical punishment, especially over a matter that seems so small to me, but he went that far? I’m not sure I can term that as anything other than abuse. There is no way hitting someone in the balls, for lack of a better term, with a tree branch is okay. Ever. And if you think it’s okay because “your parents did that to you”, then you had a poor upbringing, at least in that sense.

As for his legs, I won’t post the pictures out of respect to the child, but that looked like a lot more than “teaching your child a lesson”. Spanking your kids is one thing, prehistorically whipping them to the point where they have noticeable cuts a week later and are fighting to try to stop you isn’t okay.

Given all the public backlash to this news surfacing, and the fact that he was arrested and processed Friday night, Peterson wasn’t active yesterday, as the Vikings got slaughtered by the Patriots. But reports broke this morning that Peterson would play this week against the Saints, as the Vikings look to avoid dropping to 1-2.

The news that Peterson was active was followed by this statement from Peterson, which was termed an apology by some.

Via Vikings press release

"My attorney has asked me not to discuss the facts of my pending case. I hope you can respect that request and help me honor it. I very much want the public to hear from me but I understand that it is not appropriate to talk about the facts in detail at this time. Nevertheless, I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child.I never wanted to be a distraction to the Vikings organization, the Minnesota community or to my teammates. I 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 voluntarily appeared before the grand jury several weeks ago to answer any and all questions they had. Before my grand jury appearance, I was interviewed by two different police agencies without an attorney. In each of these interviews I have said the same thing, and that is that I never ever intended to harm my son. I will say the same thing once I have my day in court.I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen.  I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward. But deep in my heart I have always believed I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets without the discipline instilled in me by my parents and other relatives. I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man.  I love my son and I will continue to become a better parent and learn from any mistakes I ever make.I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser. I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury. No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that’s what I tried to do that day.I accept the fact that people feel very strongly about this issue and what they think about my conduct. Regardless of what others think, however, I love my son very much and I will continue to try to become a better father and person."

Let me first say that while I don’t think having the number of baby mommas that Peterson does represents someone with savory character or great morals, I don’t necessarily think he is a bad person. But if I take out the vested interest that I’ve had in someone whose career is amongst the greatest running-backs of all-time, and only hear that he shoved leaves in his son’s mouth and basically mercilessly whipped him, it’s hard for me to arrive at any other conclusion other than that said person is a child abuser.

I also think that just meeting with a psychologist shouldn’t mean that he is a changed man and gets off on this. At least until the trial runs its course, he shouldn’t be around any of his children, because despite how sorry he may be, he was indicted on being a danger to one of his children.

I’m willing to let Peterson’s trial run its course, but this apology doesn’t change much for me. He abused his son, regardless of whether that was his intention or not, and he should be treated as such.