Adrian Peterson was indicted by a Texas grand jury with child endangerment after taking a switch to his four-year-old son and leaving the four-year-old's legs bloodied, scarred and bruised.
He will not play Sunday against the New England Patriots.
This is not coming from someone who is a fan of the Patriots but rather a fan of humanity and common sense. Good God.
Whatever pressure or PR motivation the Vikings' felt at the end of Ray Rice Week to deactivate Peterson, they did do the right thing. It appears they have taken a page out of the OBF Playbook and actually used common sense and the available evidence to make a judgment on Peterson's situation.
Remember, the NFL is not beholden to the rule of the criminal justice system. It, like any employer whose employees are governed by a collective bargaining agreement, is free to do to what it chooses within the confines of its CBA.
Now, it's time for the San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers and the rest of the league to do the right thing.
As of Friday evening, Ray McDonald of the 49ers was still scheduled to play Sunday. McDonald's already played one game this season despite being arrested for hitting his pregnant girlfriend on Labor Day weekend.
Carolina DE Greg Hardy had already been arrested, charged and convicted by a judge in his domestic violence case. Hardy is currently exercising his right to a jury trial after going up against the judge didn't work out, a loophole that is allowing him to continue to play.
Hardy's ex-girlfriend claims he dragged her out of bed and into a bathtub, tossed her onto a futon that was covered with rifles, and threw her necklace in the toilet. When she tried to retrieve the jewelry, Hardy allegedly slammed the lid on her arm.
Under the CBA, both of these players could be deactivated immediately, or at any time, for as long as the team so chooses. They would be paid, much in the same way we outlined the other day. Peterson will be paid his weekly salary this week, as well.
Deactivating these players while their cases proceed through the criminal justice system makes the most sense. In each of these cases, knowing what these players did versus proving beyond reasonable doubt in a criminal court is a far different standard.
In many cases similar to Peterson's, the offending parents aren't charged. Often, parents are placed into some sort of counseling and probation program. Taking a case like this to trial is challenging for many reasons, namely because the victim is only four years old and not competent to testify. If Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings running back was Joe Peterson Wal-Mart assistant manager, Joe's case probably would have been handled in dependency rather than criminal court.
According to police reports obtained by CBS Minnesota:
“Daddy Peterson hit me on my face.” The child also expressed worry that Peterson would punch him in the face if the child reported the incident to authorities. He also said that he had been hit by a belt and that “there are a lot of belts in Daddy’s closet.” He added that Peterson put leaves in his mouth when he was being hit with the switch while his pants were down. The child told his mother that Peterson “likes belts and switches” and “has a whooping room.”
But Daddy Peterson does love kids.
Help me help victims of child abuse and neglect. Please join me at my Eat Big, Give Big Texas BBQ on 9/10! Get tix http://t.co/piVdCxFbw3— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) August 31, 2013
The photos of the young Peterson's scarred legs are available on the internet. Just remember, Daddy Peterson is listed at 6-1, 217 pounds and posted this workout video on You Tube.
In Texas, it's legal to physically punish children. Using reasoned spanking for disciplinary reasons is not what happened here. For this case to go this far into the criminal justice system means there is tangible evidence and probable cause. In Peterson's case, two doctors examined the child. Medical personnel, along with teachers and counselors are mandated reporters when it comes to child abuse. So these charges were brought to light because of the injuries the doctors saw on this child and not the fact that they did not have him on their Fantasy League teams.
Peterson is represented by Rusty Hardin, the same Rusty Hardin who successfully navigated Roger Clemens to a not guilty verdict in his federal perjury trial.
Here's what Rusty had to say on this matter:
Adrian Peterson has been informed that he was indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas for Injury to a Child. The charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son. This indictment follows Adrian’s full cooperation with authorities who have been looking into this matter. Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas. Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours. Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning. It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.
It's hard to believe any culture would condone a four-year being brutalized like Peterson's child was.
Peterson played the "God" card on Twitter.
Here's one of my favorite pieces of scripture, Adrian:
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Here's a tip, don't argue with Jesus.
In addition to sidelining McDonald and Hardy, it's time for the league's owners to look themselves in the mirror, after pushing away all that cash, and either buyout/fire/force out Roger Goodell or institute a realistic, near-zero tolerance policy toward domestic violence.
Telling the truth once in a while would not hurt either.
Again, as we've discussed thoroughly this week here, here, and here, this rancid behavior is not confined to the NFL. Nor is covering it up or condoning it. But we're dealing with the NFL here and now. As much as we love the sport of football, it is becoming increasing more difficult to view it through the prism of the NFL.
Thank goodness we have the SEC.
It seems the last hope for getting any real improvement from the NFL here lies in the board rooms of Anheuser-Busch, Ford, McDonald's, Nationwide Insurance, Procter & Gamble and the rest of large multinational corporations who sponsor the league's network telecasts. Until they pull their dollars, real change is a fantasy.
The reason why it happened is sickening, but the one member of the NFL did something right on Friday.
The 31 other teams and the league's commissioner need to follow suit.
They can't start moving soon enough.
The OBF column is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Bill has written and reported for ESPN, CBSSports.Com and was a sports/deputy sports editor at several metro daily newspapers. Reach Bill on the OFB Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or at his
OBF email Address. Thanks always for reading.