I’m part of the problem. I realize that.
My first reaction to the news that Adrian Peterson was indicted on child injury charges last Friday, was, “G-- damn it. There’s goes my fantasy football season.” My second instinct was that I had to pick up Vikings backup running back Matt Asiata off the waiver wire. My third move was to read what actually happened to Peterson’s child.
I admit, that timeline is disgusting. But I know I’m far from the only one who reacted this way. On that third step, I first had to find out exactly what a “switch” was.
A switch is a tree branch. And hitting a child with a tree branch in “the South” is common, tradition even, according to proud Southerners like Charles Barkley.
On Saturday, more details came out regarding Peterson’s alleged abuse in a CBS Houston story. Peterson allegedly stuffed the leaves from the tree branches in his child’s mouth before beating him. While beating his kid with the switch, he also “hit him in the nuts.”
His kid later “expressed worry” that daddy would punch him in the face if he told authorities about the on-going “whoopings.”
His kid said that daddy “likes belts and switches” and that daddy even had his own “whooping room.”
Just imagine what would happen if TMZ released a video of what actually happened in that "whooping room." Peterson would be not only be suspended from the NFL for life, but he would likely wind up in jail for life. But because we can’t apparently comprehend how serious a situation is today until we see the video evidence (police reports just don’t provide enough information, I guess), Peterson will get the benefit of the doubt going forward.
Peterson apologized Monday and is going to play this Sunday against the Saints.
Barkley’s comments on the matter, much like my initial concern for my fantasy team, are gross. I literally can’t think of one other public figure in America who could say this on National TV, as Barkley did on CBS Sunday, and get away with it:
“I’m from the South. I understand (Boomer Esiason’s) outrage and anger. But he’s a white guy and I’m a black guy. I don’t know where he’s from, I’m from the South. Whipping – we do that all the time. Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances.”
Barkley is basically playing both the race and “tradition” cards here, but his true crime is ignorance. He truly thinks that Peterson simply hit his kid with a twig a couple times on the ass. That’s not what happened. Barkley, like myself, didn’t bother to take the time to investigate the seriousness of Peterson’s actions right away.
Peterson and Barkley are living in a - excuse the word – “fantasy” world where they believe that whatever happened when they were children should be repeated in 2014. Sorry, that’s not the way things typically work. Ideally, societies improve with age because we learn from our mistakes, and “in my day” tirades definitely don’t apply when talking about a child bleeding at the hands of his father.
The discussion will now undoubtedly turn to whether or not the NFL should suspend Peterson despite him not being found guilty of anything yet. It’s entirely possible that the NFL will grandstand on this issue and suspend Peterson “indefinitely,” to make up for the Ray Rice case botching. But let the NFL breathe here for a moment. Let’s put this one on Peterson himself, first.
Peterson should not only have apologized Monday, he should have said that he’s sitting out the rest of the season. He should really just go away for a while. Save everyone some time.
Bye, bye Adrian. No one wants to see or hear from you right now. Seriously. Go away.
Even if Peterson gave a phony, “I’m taking the rest of 2014 off to spend more time with my family” excuse, only to father more children by more random women on his vacation from his problems, that would be better than him playing again this season.
But Peterson will press forward this week and act as though he’s a victim in this whole thing. Meanwhile, Vikings fans will be ecstatic to see him back and idiot fantasy owners like myself will waste little time re-inserting him into their lineups.
The show must go on, right?
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS