Thursday 19 October 2017 / 03:51 AM

The curious case of Adrian Peterson

I’m sure you already know the basic gist of the Adrian Peterson saga, but here’s a quick refresher before we talk about what I want to talk about.

Peterson was indicted on the September 12 on a felony charge of injuring his four-year-old son after he overzealously spanked him with a switch.

He sidestepped time behind bars by pleading no contest two weeks ago to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless assault.

Roger Goodell and the Minnesota Vikings were quick to express their opinions on the matter: “That’s not good enough.”

The league, along with Peterson’s team, made the move to banish ‘All-Day’ for the rest of the season without pay. This course of action didn’t sit too well with AP, and so with the help of the Player’s Union, he filed a grievance to appeal the ban.

So my question is this: Is the league coming down on AP too hard as a kneejerk reaction from the Ray Rice controversy?

The NFL is a private business. Therefore, within reason, they can choose to discipline their employees however they see fit. As long as they are not breaking any laws, of course.

But there seems to be a disturbing trend these days of the NFL opting more often than not to play the part of the morality police instead of allowing players’ personal and professional lives to remain separate.

And, OK. Yes. I get it. The league has an image to uphold and is trying to deliver a family-friendly product.

But…

There comes a point where the league office is overstepping the line with regards to when and how they punish players for off-the-field actions that are completely unrelated to the game.

Was Adrian Peterson wrong to strike his son so hard with a switch that it left welts on his skin for days?

Absolutely. By no means am I condoning child abuse.

But to me, once the case has run its course through the legal system, it isn’t the NFL’s place to decide whether or not they agree with the position of the courts.

Think of the precedent this sets. Does any company have the right to ignore the rulings of the court and determine what punishment is suitable for an employee that has been accused of a crime?

It’s all about saving face

If the Ray Rice debacle taught us anything about the attitudes of the powers that be in the National Football League, it’s this: “We don’t really give a shit about anything except for making money.”

I mean, I love football, but they’re peddling violence to make billions so they’ve got no room to talk – even all this player safety garbage is more about avoiding lawsuits than protecting their fodder.

Goodell is coming down hard on AP because he f**ked it up with Ray Rice.

Period.

Ol’ Roger would much rather have perhaps the best running back to ever play the game snapping in his chin strap on Sunday, but he’s decided that Adrian’s situation can give the league some much-needed positive PR.

I’m not saying that players should never face suspension for actions detrimental to the overall image of the league…

…all I’m saying is that it’s not Roger Goodell’s position to play judge, jury and executioner.

If a player is arrested and the legal system decides to give him a slap on the wrist, then the NFL ought to follow suit with the ruling.

Whether or not the courts are too lenient on celebrities is an entirely different issue, and I’m 100 per cent certain that if Adrian Peterson was a 7-11 clerk he’d be in jail right now – but the league is taking a gigantic power reach by stating that they will be the authority to overrule the courts.

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Michael Airhart

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