I think we can all agree, the NFL has had a series of struggle weeks. Their public image has really taken a hit. Every day there seems to be another headline about a player’s issue with domestic violence, whether it be against a woman or a child.
Late last week, we learned Minnesota Viking, Adrian Peterson, was arrested and indicted for beating his four-year-old son with a switch, leaving welts and marks all along his legs, buttocks and even scrotum.
Initially, Peterson was deactivated from the Vikings game.
But today, the NFL decided that they would wait until the legal process runs its course before making a final decision. And in the meantime they’ve allowed Peterson to play. If he is eventually convicted, he’ll have to serve a minimum six game suspension.
Peterson released this statement today about his thoughts on discipline and child abuse.
“My attorney has asked me not to discuss the facts of my pending case. I hope you can respect that request and help me honor it. I very much want the public to hear from me but I understand that it is not appropriate to talk about the facts in detail at this time. Nevertheless, I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child.
I never wanted to be a distraction to the Vikings organization, the Minnesota community or to my teammates. 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.
I voluntarily appeared before the grand jury several weeks ago to answer any and all questions they had. Before my grand jury appearance, I was interviewed by two different police agencies without an attorney. In each of these interviews I have said the same thing, and that is that I never ever intended to harm my son. I will say the same thing once I have my day in court.
I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen. I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.
I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward. But deep in my heart I have always believed I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets without the discipline instilled in me by my parents and other relatives. I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man. I love my son and I will continue to become a better parent and learn from any mistakes I ever make.
I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser. I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury. No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that’s what I tried to do that day.
I accept the fact that people feel very strongly about this issue and what they think about my conduct. Regardless of what others think, however, I love my son very much and I will continue to try to become a better father and person.”
Reactions to this story were more split than the Ray Rice news. Several members of the Black community could relate to being hit and beaten with all types of objects, including switches. The issue turned into a question of when discipline crosses the line into child abuse.
I believe in discipline. But I’m of the mindset that no four-year-old needs this type beating. A spanking? Maybe. But a welt-inducing, blood flooding beating for behavior that is quite normal for four-year-olds? No. How did he not notice that his son was bleeding? Or did he think bleeding was just a part of the punishment? Even if he didn’t mean to harm his child in this way, he took it entirely too far. But perhaps my opinion is invalidated by the fact that I was spanked but never beaten. So I can’t speak to the “benefits” of being whupped.
Yesterday, ESPN analyst and Hall of Famer, Cris Carter passionately spoke about his own upbringing and how, with new information, he’s learned to make better choices when it comes to parenting his own children.
“My mom did the best job she could do raising seven kids by herself, but there are thousands of things that I have learned since then that my mom was wrong,.It’s the 21st century – my mom was wrong. She did the best she could but she was wrong about some of that stuff she taught me and I promised my kids I won’t teach that mess to them…Thousands of things we have learned since then.”
Carter continued, commending the Vikings, his former team for taking Peterson off the field in light of his issues with his son.
“We’re in a climate right now, I don’t care what it is, take him off the dang on field. Because you know what as a man that’s the only thing we really respect. We don’t respect no women. We don’t respect no kids. The only thing Roger and them do, take him off the field because they respect that.”
You can watch Cris Carter’s emotional speech in the video below.
What do you think of the Adrian Peterson case? Do you think he took things too far? Were you disciplined like this as a child? Do you still believe in this method?