Adrian Peterson NFL controversy

With Adrian Peterson hitting the free agent market and leaving Minnesota, teams and fans have to deal with how they might handle accepting him wearing their uniform after his highly publicized child abuse case a few years ago. Peterson was suspended for much of the 2014 season because of the case and pleaded no contest, avoiding jail time and instead paying a fine and receiving 80 hours community service.

Green Bay Press-Gazette columnist Pete Dougherty wrote a column suggesting the Packers should go out and sign Adrian Peterson (who unlike Ray Rice, teams seem to have no problem giving a second chance to at this point and time). It starts with all of the football-related reasons as to why Peterson is still worth the risk even at his age for a running back. Then Dougherty gets to the proverbial elephant in the room, you have to, right?

And it starts out with the expected bits about times changing and society being better now than it once was when it comes to corporal punishment. But then it goes off the rails as Dougherty links Peterson using a switch on his child to it being learned behavior from a possible slave heritage where slaves would suffer brutal discipline.

As for Peterson, society is changing fast, and obviously for the better, on many things, including disciplining children. I’m 55 and have friends about a generation older who say corporal punishment in school was routine. That’s not that long ago.

Let’s also not forget that Peterson likely is descended from slaves who suffered savage disciplinary beatings generation after generation after generation. It excuses nothing but also can’t be ignored. This is learned behavior.

Peterson, like Vick, paid his penalty. He took a plea bargain in a Texas court and was suspended by the NFL without pay for the final six games of 2014.

That is quite the leap to make. In fact, it’s not a leap, it’s like trying to jump from goalline to goalline in a single jump in terms of logical sense.

Unsurprisingly, that part of the column was taken out but not until after it had been published. All that remains is the comment that it was learned behavior. In a note to Deadspin and now a note to readers appearing at the top of the article, the Press-Gazette apologized to offended readers and said that the two sentences were removed because they were “poorly reasoned and insensitive.”

Note to readers: A paragraph in an earlier version of Pete Dougherty’s column that included a reference to Peterson’s punishment of his 4-year-old son being connected to America’s history of slavery was removed. It was poorly reasoned and insensitive. We apologize to all readers who were offended.

How that not only got written, but made it past an editor, is difficult to fathom.

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.