Thoughts on the Adrian Peterson child abuse case

First it was a video showing NFL running back Ray Rice throwing a punch at his fiancé, which would make boxing champ Floyd Mayweather proud. Now the latest scandal in the National Football League involves another running back and arguably the best one in the league, Adrian Peterson. Leaked photos of his 4-year-old son were made public late last week and showed many bruises and marks from an apparent disciplinary action directed to the boy from Peterson, who whipped his son with a broken off stick from a tree. The photos and case have certainly got the attention of many folks and brings up the topic of how far is too far in disciplining a child. Did Peterson go to far in how he handled his son? Many folks have strong opinions on both sides and what should next happed to the football player who I will refer to as AP. Interestingly enough and in a bit of an ironic and sad twist, one of Peterson’s sons died from abuse by the boyfriend of one of his ex’s last year.

If you look at the photos of the boy that surfaced, they are rather disturbing. By the way, the person or parties who leaked these photos should be charged. There is absolutely no reason for those photos to go public, none whatsoever!! The fact that his son had several bruises and marks on his body shows that Peterson no doubt took things too far. I hear people talk about how that is a normal way of disciplining a child in the south, really? AP admitted to whipping his son and explained that he used to get the same type of treatment as a young boy. From what people have been saying, this type of corporal punishment is more common than we think. I realize this may have worked very well on some children, but is this really a smart and effective way of punishing a young child? Isn’t there a much safer and better way of getting your point across to a misbehaving child? I do not have any children myself so I am by far not an expert on this topic, but I would never whip my child, never!! In a bit of rage, I may hit the child so hard that he or she suffers a permanent injury. Not only does a person run the risk of severely injuring a child, there are long-term ramifications of that type of punishment. The child may grow up thinking it is okay to hit their children or worse yet, their spouse. What about sending a kid to his or her room for a nice long timeout? Or taking away certain television or game privileges? I am all for disciplining kids; in fact I think there is too little discipline taking place in today’s world, however, one has to ask whether the discipline will carry any potential long-term effects. Using physical force on a child, while certainly may be an effective short-term way of getting your point across may produce some problems later on in a child’s life.

There has been much discussion about what should happen to Peterson now that he is being indicted for child abuse. The team that he plays on and my favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings, decided to sit him out for a game, then they reinstated him only to change their minds again and made him take a leave of absence. After he was reinstated a few days ago, there was a lot of outrage about him coming back and playing. Many sponsors decided to cut ties with the Vikings and Peterson. Funny how that works in pro sports. It is a cardinal sin to upset your sponsors and your fan base. The Vikings claim that the sponsor’s decisions had nothing to do with forcing Peterson out of the lineup. That is a bunch of baloney!! I am sure they started to get a little worried when the team’s accountants started to make a few phone calls the team’s owners. Thoughts of losing a ton of money is not something an owner of a pro sports team wants to hear!! Having Peterson play was a liability to the bottom line and could have potentially been a huge PR blunder to the team and the league. I fully applaud the Vikings for coming to their senses on that issue.

It will be interesting to how the league deals with this case. It is almost a no-brainer that Peterson will be suspended for several games. Based on what has happened in the past, this is almost a given. I have a hard time believing this case will go to trial. Some sort of plea bargain is almost certain to happen. There are certain people out there who wants AP thrown in jail and kicked out of the league forever. That is totally ridiculous!! Doing so would open up a huge can of worms on the proper way of disciplining children. Where would you draw the line on what is legal and what is not in giving out corporal punishment? In my opinion, Peterson could help out his case a lot if he held a press conference and apologized for actions. Contrary to what people may think, AP is actually a very decent guy. He gives a lot to children’s charities around this area. It is unfortunate that people will always judge Peterson based on one incident. AP certainly deserves a second chance and I hope he can play again for the Vikings.

These last few weeks have been a rather trying period for the NFL. Maybe something positive can result from this case and attention that it has brought to America. Child abuse is a major problem in this country which is often overlooked by many people. Perhaps there is an overly abusive parent out there who is looking at this case and thinking twice about striking a young, defenseless child. Who knows, the attention this case has gathered may do wonders in reaching out to child abuse victims and some children’s lives. There is always a silver lining in every crisis and this case may finally be the wakeup call towards problems of child abuse and discipline in our country.

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