Vikings’ Peterson decision throws ball to Goodell

Maura Trout, surrounded by Vikings fans in her family, today mailed obsolete Adrian Peterson’s jerseys back to the Vikings, along with a few extra things. Courtesy, Maura Trout

This one isn’t that hard to figure out, is it?

The Vikings announced today that Adrian Peterson will play on Sunday and they were shrewd enough to provide plenty of cover for their explanation of why a guy who acknowledged already to investigators that he beat his kid with a switch should be representing the team on Sunday: the Constitution.

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.

That’s a statement the Vikings could have made at any time over the weekend. Instead they floated the rumor that they were at least considering cutting or trading Peterson. Then they ruled out cutting him but kept the rumor alive that he’d be traded. That’s how much they care about child abuse.

Instead, they’ll just play him as if nothing had happened.

Due process? The Vikings didn’t care about due process when they cut A.J. Jefferson last fall, hours after he was arrested for domestic violence.

The judicial system being what it is, Peterson isn’t going to go on trial for his actions anytime soon — that won’t come until well after the season if it comes at all. By then, Peterson will be 30, his career will be in decline — if it isn’t already — and the Vikings can sever ties with him and still come out looking like child abuse is their overriding concern.

“They value common decency over winning,” New York Daily News columnist Gary Myers wrote a few days ago about the Vikings. “If (NFL commissioner Roger) Goodell doesn’t suspend Peterson, the Vikings should deactivate him every week.”

Urp.

In their statement, the Vikings said they made today’s decision after plenty of meetings and apparent soul-searching, but they didn’t say they made it with any input from the commissioner, in whose office they have now rolled the grenade.

Goodell is under plenty of pressure because of his botched handling of Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens star who clocked his fiancee-turned-wife in a hotel elevator.

It’s true, Peterson hasn’t been convicted, but he doesn’t have to be in order to be suspended by Goodell.

But the league might simply be too tone deaf already to understand that most people understand what the Vikings are up to.

Any questions? Other than the obvious one, of course…

Update 1:48 p.m.: Peterson: “I am not a child abuser.”

  • L. Foonimin

    to no surprise it would appear that in the end the Vikings are more concerned with Wilfare than child welfare …

  • Jack Ungerleider

    I have a question about this. If an employee of MPR were in a similar situation would MPR suspend the employee or fire them before the process had run its course? I’m just wondering if we are expecting the Vikings to do something we wouldn’t expect other employers to do?

    • It depends. Some employees I believe have contracts that presumably have a clause about behavior.

      The NFL contracts DO have clauses about behavior.

      Beyond that, I don’t know what MPR would do.

      I do know that my colleagues would probably pretty much shun someone who beat their kid. From what I heard from locker room interviews yesterday, that separates us. Maybe that’s why they abuse children and MPR employees don’t, I don’t know. But there’s that.

      But I can only speak for me.

      • Dave

        That’s another good point — being shunned. Even if it turns out that Peterson is not guilty, why why why do you want someone in this league, on your team, who does that to children?

        • >>Even if it turns out that Peterson is not guilty<<

          Of course he already admitted what he did and there are photos that show the damage.

    • jon

      I can’t speak for MPR but a few years back a guy from Blaine was arrested for hacking into his neighbors wifi and downloading child pornography and sending threatening letters to the vice president… he lost his job well before the trial…

      Googling the words “fired after being charged with crime” suggests that this is something that happens to christian radio personnel, and corrections officers, various attorney positions (heck in Texas a DUI will cost you funding for your department)

      So I don’t think it is just the NFL that fires people for being charged with criminal activities…

  • Dave

    I think it’s interesting how the team and many fans take a wait-and-see approach. Gather all the facts. Gain some perspective. It’s a good thing for Peterson that he isn’t some Joe Schmoe child abuser. Because every person in the state would want the book thrown at him if that were the case. Football player? Hold on, let’s not rush to judgment!

    Even more disgusting are the brutish fans making excuses for him. Assuming the photos are legit, he broke the law. Two doctors referred the case to law enforcement. Intent may be taken into consideration, but it’s still assault in my view.

    Furthermore, every additional minute of silence from Goodell is that much more damning for the commissioner and the NFL.

  • andy

    So NFL, if a player is tested for illegal drugs (like pot) and fails, they’re automatically suspended right? Pretty cut and dry. If a player is indicted for child endangerment, let ’em play! Got it.

    I think I’m done watching the NFL. I just freed up many hours of weekend. Sweet!

  • Tom K

    All my Vikings clothing (and those of my children) will be cut up and left at Winter Park. I will never watch another game. I am a father and am completely enraged.

    I have left messages for the Governor, my state senator and representative – how many hundreds of millions did the state give the team for a stadium?

    This child abuser beat a defenseless 4 year old with a stick so severely that a week later the boy’s legs were still lacerated . Peterson admitted he did it. Peterson was arrested for it. There is photographic evidence.

    You can see the pictures on deadspin for yourself, they are stomach churning .

    I am done with the Vikings and the NFL.

  • Jeff

    This seems rather convoluted. To me like the easiest decision would have been to throw Peterson under the bus and rid themselves of a distraction, his salary, and then build for the future. Instead they risk losing a lot of fans and subject to a lot of heat for a declining asset who is now damaged goods.

    • I think they know that people who say they’re done with football (a) probably weren’t big football fans in the first place and/or (b) are lying.

      • joe.internet

        Spot on, Bob. I wasn’t a football fan before and I’m less likely than ever to become one now. They didn’t have my money then and they won’t now. Oh wait, I’m a Hennepin county taxpayer.

        D’oh!

        I’m sure when the shiny new “Fortress of Solitude” opens in two years, we’ll forget all about this, the fun times on the boat, the swindles in New Jersey, and the lackluster performance of this team for the last 15 years.

        To the NFL and the Vikings, a chump’s money is just as green as the next person’s. In this case, the chumps are just wearing purple jerseys.

      • andy

        Bob, I’m a life long football fan, I can assure you, I won’t watch another snap until Adrien “father-of-the-year” Peterson is banned for life, and Goodell is fired.

  • Robbie

    I’m interested in the blame that Adrian Peterson should have, as this is a cultural and generational issue. I think that this will, as indicated recently by Bob on the Current, become a parents’ rights issue, and will then get ugly, when the trial happens. While I would never hit my child, I think it’s important to see that this is a generational issue, that many now-parents were taught this is the correct way to discipline their child, and I’m still not certain that the government has the right to, beyond actual physical or psychological harm, say a parent cannot do this. Beyond this, Adrian Peterson claims that this was how he was raised, and he wasn’t aware it was abusive. I think some leniency should be given due to this. Any thoughts?

  • shleigh

    I find this a bit Interesting & hypocritical & ironic… AP’s All Day Foundation says it wants to help ‘at-risk children’ (at-risk for what specifically, it doesn’t say). It partners with non profits, which are listed on the website. Some are pretty standard – Make-A-Wish, Special Olympics, etc, but also included is Cornerstone & Symphonic Love Foundation. The Cornerstonemn.org website says “Cornerstone is a committed to creating a society in which violence in families and relationships no longer exists.” The Symphonic Love Foundation is Chris Brown’s nonprofit, which supports a couple of domestic violence & dating abuse organizations (also pretty interesting, hypocritical and/or ironic). Even the caption for the Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of MN says ‘Uplifting victims of abuse and neglect’.

    Makes you wonder… how involved was he in choosing the specific charities to officially partner with? If he proactively sought the violence/abuse focus, why? What is the extent of the partnerships? Does he just give some money, sign some stuff and make a few appearances, or does he really know about and believe in the missions and the daily efforts? I’m not a die-hard AP fan, so I don’t know if he’s previously promoted these causes on a regular basis or not. So many questions…

  • Jack

    When I was younger, one of our church ministers gave excellent sermons on adultery and the sin that it was. Turns out that he was preaching on what he was doing.

    Wonder just how often that is the case – the cause you support is something that you are involved in (but not in a good way).

  • tboom

    With the NY Times article about NFL arrest records, I fear AP is just a highly visible example of the Vikings front office inability to make ethical decisions concerning team composition. Maybe things just SEEM clear when you’re a kid, but I don’t remember these problems when the holy trinity (Max Winter/Jim Finks/Bud Grant) were assembling teams. No one can know for sure, but I’ll bet that if Bud were head coach AP wouldn’t play another down in a Vikings uniform (yes, I know times have changed – I’ll still make that bet).

  • David

    Between their willful attempt at discrediting brain science research, extorsion of public finances (i know it takes more than one party here), domestic and child abuse, and other law breaking behavior I’m done. I was actually done last year, but I would tolorate it if friends or family wanted to get together to watch teh games. Now I’m done, I’lll see those friends some other time.