On Monday, Adrian Peterson issued a statement regarding his recent arrest on child abuse charges in Texas.
Within it, Peterson says he disciplines his children much in the same way he was punished by his own parents.
But what Peterson views to be functional parenting is apparently not just a Peterson family-specific thing.
Incredibly, the school district Peterson attended while growing up in Texas still employs corporal punishment, as detailed by USA Today:
If a kid is chewing gum in class, we don't necessarily give the students swats for that," says Jason Marshall, superintendent of schools in Palestine, a city of about 18,000 about two hours southeast of Dallas. "If a student has several disciplinary situations that just continue to mount, then corporal punishment is an option."
Cummings says he and Adrian Peterson got whipped several times by the football team's defensive coordinator, Booker Bowie, with a solid-oak paddle that measured about 18 inches by 6 inches and hung on a nail in the coaches' office.
"You would bend over and brace yourself and get however many licks had been assigned for you," Cummings says. "Sometimes it would leave a bruise on the buttocks or just a red mark. It was not a pleasant feeling. You were not able to sit for a few hours."
Holy shit, right?
Also on Monday, Vikings brass bumbled through a 20-minute presser, in which they tried to explain their decision to activate Peterson.
Due process was the term of the day, with GM Rick Spielman claiming that Peterson's actions were simply a matter of "disciplining a child."
But Spielman and the Wilfs, who own the team, had set a stricter precedent over the years, as noted by Robert Klemko for MMQB:
As Spielman gained influence and rank, the Vikings’ willingness to part ways with offenders before the completion of due process became a de facto policy. The team cut Caleb King in 2012 after an arrest for assault; in 2013 it released A.J. Jefferson hours after his arrest for alleged domestic violence; and this winter Minnesota cut linebacker Erin Henderson following a DUI arrest.
Cook, King, Jefferson and Henderson made it easy for the Vikings to cast them away. They weren’t stud performers, and they hadn’t won over the locker room; at least, not like Peterson.
It only affirms what we’ve come to learn these past several days about some of the men who run the NFL: Decency is only a matter of convenience.
Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer held this presser in front of a backdrop splattered with the Radisson logo.
None too flattered by the association, the hotel group pulled its sponsorship of the Vikings later that same day:
Radisson takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children. We are closely following the situation and effective immediately, Radisson is suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances.
Minnesota governor Mark Dayton had the following to say about the Vikings' decision:
It is an awful situation. Yes, Mr. Peterson is entitled to due process and should be "innocent until proven guilty." However, he is a public figure; and his actions, as described, are a public embarrassment to the Vikings organization and the State of Minnesota. Whipping a child to the extent of visible wounds, as has been alleged, should not be tolerated in our state. Therefore, I believe the team should suspend Mr. Peterson, until the accusations of child abuse have been resolved by the criminal justice system.
However, I will not turn my back on the Vikings and their fans, as some have suggested. The Vikings belong to Minnesota – and in Minnesota. This has been the team's only home; and our citizens, including myself, have been its most dedicated fans.
Writes Eric Edholm for Shutdown Corner:
This isn't about what the "legal process" entails, despite what Spielman said some dozen times on Monday. This is about the Vikings not wanting to lose out on a talent who might be in the twilight of his greatness. With each punishing carry, Peterson's body begins to break down and his greatness begins to chip away. The Vikings are determined to squeeze every last drop of that talent before discarding him. That's the way the NFL works.
Over at PFT, Mike Florio reminds us that the NFL could and should step in, now that the Vikings have backed off:
But with the Vikings opting, after a temporary moment of clarity, to retreat to the time-honored notion that excuses are made for stars and examples are made of scrubs, the NFL can address the situation by imposing discipline immediately against Peterson via the personal-conduct policy.
Of course, the league’s ability to take against against Peterson or any other player possibly has been short-circuited by the ongoing siege of 345 Park Avenue regarding the investigation into what the NFL knew and when the NFL knew it about the Ray Rice video. Which could mean that the Vikings will be able to take Peterson to the Superdome on Sunday for a game against the Saints not because of “due process” or any other platitude behind which the team may choose to hide, but because having him on the field puts the team in better position to win games.
If that happens, it will be further proof that the NFL at large has learned little from the events of the past week, requiring perhaps not just a change in leadership of the league office but also a new collection of owners.
Drew Magary shares some thoughts on corporal punishment at Dadspin:
Spanking and beating your kid teaches your kid to talk with violence. It validates hitting as a legitimate form of communication. Everything is modeled. I have yelled at my kids, and then seen them yell. I have smacked my kid, and then watched her smack someone else. They don't learn to be good from any of it. They don't learn to sit still and practice piano sonatas. All they learn is, Hey, this works! And then they go practice what you just preached. Beating a kid creates an atmosphere of toxicity in a house that lingers forever: One beating leads to the next, and to the next, and to the next, until parents don't even know why they're beating the kid anymore. They just do. Once it is normalized, it takes root. Parents begin to like the habit. Those pictures of Peterson's kid? The violence can get worse... much worse... so much worse it's astonishing.