Vikings owner Zygi Wilf admitted today that his team screwed up when it reinstated running back Adrian Peterson on Monday, saying today that he realizes now that a player who is under indictment on a child abuse charge should not be playing.
“We made a mistake and we needed to get this right,” Wilf said. “We embrace our role in the community and the responsibilities that go with it. It is important to always listen to our fans, the community and our sponsors. Our goal is to always make a decision we feel is right for the Minnesota Vikings. And to be clear, we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. Adrian will be away from the team and focused on his personal situation. We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe this is the right decision.”
After Wilf made that statement, his brother and co-owner Mark Wilf took questions from reporters, and he echoed his brother’s statements.
“Our focus is to get things right,” he said. “We support Adrian on the personal level. He has to get his personal life in order and get things right.”
The Vikings have been widely criticized for initially planning to play Peterson, who has admitted that he injured his son by beating him with a stick. But the Vikings say they take the welfare of children seriously.
“We have a longstanding record of being very supportive of children and youth and it’s something we take very seriously,” Mark Wilf said.
The Vikings only changed their minds after losing at least one sponsor and being strongly criticized by the governor of Minnesota, but the Vikings claim they made the decision to put Peterson on an exempt list and hold him out while his legal matter is ongoing simply because they concluded that it’s the right thing to do. They may never come up with a satisfactory answer for why they delayed in doing the right thing. But their message today is that they believe they’re doing the right thing now.