Due process shouldn’t apply here

By Jeff Fasoldt, @Jeff_Fasoldt

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to sports news lately, you would know that the NFL is floating in an ocean of embarrassment right now.

First, there was the Ray Rice video that showed the suspended and released former Ravens running back striking his fiancé twice in an elevator with his fist and knocking her unconscious.

Then there was Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, arrested for beating his girlfriend and threatening to kill her (going as far as tossing her on a pile of automatic weapons). He could play on Sunday night this week against the Steelers.

And now we get to Adrian Peterson; heavily endorsed, recognizable to the public, and stat-wise the top running back in the NFL. He was recently indicted of criminal neglect after being accused of beating his 4-year-old child with a switch (small tree branch), which he admitted to.

In Peterson’s most recent beating of his son, pictures arose of wounds that went down his son’s legs. The six-time Pro Bowler actually did some damage to his sons scrotum and apologized, saying it was an accident and he didn’t mean to hurt him.

Since then, the Vikings on Sunday deactivated Peterson before they lost 30-7 to the Patriots. The team then reactivated him Monday even after new allegations of him abusing a different son, with a different woman, have surfaced. Peterson has since been deactivated once again by the Vikings.

Now, this may lead you to ask: Why? Why would the Vikings and the NFL originally let Peterson play after only missing one game and admitting to abusing his child?

The Vikings answer: Due process.

While due process may be explained differently depending on what legal textbook you read (or Wikipedia), here it meant that the Vikings and the NFL at first did not suspend Peterson because he has not had his day in court yet.

However, even though he hasn’t legally been convicted yet, he HAS admitted to “whooping” his son on several occasions, including the most recent one. In fact, everything that has been in the media and the pictures of his son’s wounds are legitimate, according to Peterson.

So, what this all really comes down to is that the NFL is hiding in their own skin, along with the Vikings. Both parties know that losing a valuable superstar like Peterson is not good for business or winning.

A couple days after Peterson turned himself into authorities he released a statement in which he said:

“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.”

Here is the other issue in this situation — people, even Peterson himself, are making excuses for his actions saying that what he did is okay because he “disciplined” his son.

To me this is the saddest part of the whole story. I don’t care if you were beaten when you were child. I don’t care how bad it was, or how much you learned from it. There are other ways to teach discipline without hurting someone.

And, while Adrian Peterson has met with a counselor and says he understands this now, the damage has already been done.

After all, this is the 21st century and some of us need to remember that. “Disciplining” your child by beating him with a tree branch till he has scars on his buttocks and legs is abuse. It’s no different than beating your fiancé such as Rice did.

So as this situation goes on it will be interesting to see how it plays out, but one thing is for sure — there will still be people who don’t see what Peterson did as wrong. The common saying will be, “My dad did the same thing to me when I was little.”

To those people I apologize because you are no better than Peterson.

Sometimes the things our elders do aren’t always right, and learning from previous generations’ mistakes is how we make advancements in society today.

Finally, what should not be forgotten in all of this is Peterson’s son. I pray for him and for this situation to end well for him, but also for the countless others that have suffered from child abuse in their life.


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