Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has returned to the NFL successfully, leading the league in rushing and leading his team to the playoffs. But he’s still not happy with the way the NFL handled him last year, when he played just one game before he was sidelined and suspended for abusing his son.
Peterson told Sports Illustrated that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell simply didn’t grasp Peterson’s life experiences.
“Roger Goodell, man, I don’t know. . . . This is when I knew he was blind to the fact of what I was going through. I sat down with him. He asked me, ‘What is a whuppin’? . . . It was one of the first questions. . . . It kind of showed me we were on a totally different level. It’s just the way of life. For instance, in Texas, we know what whuppin’s are. Down there, if it snows, people are going to go crazy. They’re going to close schools. They’re going to shut it down. Here, you’re used to that. It was just a tough situation, because of misperception. . . . I get it. I get why. But you still shouldn’t pass judgment on people when you don’t know.”
What a whuppin is, in Peterson’s case, is a freakishly strong man picking up a stick and beating a little boy with it until the boy bled from his back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum. The little boy also had defensive wounds on his hands.
Peterson may say that Goodell’s question is naive, but Goodell was merely trying to establish what, exactly, Peterson thought was acceptable about the way he abused his son. Goodell was offering Peterson a chance to explain himself, but the reality is there is no acceptable explanation for child abuse.
In the Sports Illustrated article, Peterson insists that he has grown as a father and “there’s not many fathers better than me.” Although he doesn’t live with most of his children (he’s had seven children with multiple women) he says he keeps in touch on FaceTime and Skype.
Peterson says Goodell doesn’t understand him, but many readers will come away from the Sports Illustrated article wondering whether Peterson really understands the gravity of what he did to his son. Peterson’s suspension last season was the result of a wrong done by Peterson, not Goodell.