Rusty Hardin: Don’t lump Adrian Peterson in with Ray Rice

AP

If Ray Rice’s elevator video hadn’t become public, Adrian Peterson probably would have been playing for the Vikings over the last eight weeks. But Peterson’s indictment on a charge of abusing his 4-year-old son was handed down just as the NFL was in the midst of a firestorm of criticism for its handling of Rice, and as a result Peterson has spent the last eight weeks out of the NFL.

Now that Peterson has resolved the legal issue with a no-contest plea, his lawyer says it’s time for the NFL to separate Peterson from the league’s domestic violence scandal.

“I hope and trust he doesn’t fall prey to all these publicized events involving other people, which had nothing to do with his situation,” lawyer Rusty Hardin said on Mike & Mike. “This is a parent disciplining a child and an unintended harm occurred. But it has nothing to do with child abuse, domestic abuse, family abuse and so on, so I hope he doesn’t continue to get lumped in with problems others have.”

Hardin suggested that if it hadn’t been for the Rice elevator video, Peterson likely never would have been charged with anything. According to Hardin, Peterson was set to be cleared in the investigation into the injuries sustained by his son until the Rice video caused the prosecutor and the grand jury to give closer scrutiny to Peterson.

“On September 4 we were informed a grand jury here had declined to charge him and that it was over,” Hardin said. “And then the Ray Rice video came out that Monday on TMZ, and that next Thursday, the 11th, we were informed the grand jury was reconsidering his case, and then he was indicted. Part of what’s happened here is lumping these athletes in together. They’re all individuals, they’re all different circumstances. What I’m hoping is the NFL and the public will assess them individually and not lump them together. And if they do that I think Adrian has earned the right to get his chance.”

Hardin is obviously right that there are differences between what Rice did and what Peterson did. It’s also true that Peterson has admitted to whipping a small child so severely that the child was cut and bruised on his back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands. Peterson should be judged individually, and not lumped in with Rice. But Peterson should be judged as what he is: A big, strong man who hurt a small child.

77 responses to “Rusty Hardin: Don’t lump Adrian Peterson in with Ray Rice

  1. God, these out of touch millionaires just can’t wait to climb all over each other to excuse clearly reprehensible behavior by other out of touch millionaires. I’m shocked.

  2. Yeah? Well if there was video of Mr. Petersen whipping the living snot out of a 4 year old, things would not have gone so well for him either.

    We all knew Rice punched her in the face, but since people are stupid and can’t envision things without motion pictures, Petersen got off.

  3. Peterson is a whole not her level of sick. This was a defenseless child whipped until bloody, leaves stuffed in his mouth, and for good measure gets caught smoking weed while out on bond. Most people would be on the straight and narrow but not this idiot. Yeah he is on a whole different level.

  4. Oh your right Rusty one beats women the other beats helpless children with know way of defending themselves. I’ll lump them into the same category of all around bad dudes

  5. I’m a Vikings fan who doesn’t believe Adrian’s situation is on the same level as that of Ray Rice at all. I want to see him back in purple terrorizing opposing defenses once again, but NOT without AD getting some counseling for the problem.

    If he apologizes and gets some help, there should be no reason the fans in Minnesota and across the country aren’t willing to give him another chance.

  6. Yup. ‘Cause one drunkin’ punch to the fiance is so much worse that dozens of whips to your child with a switch. Geezus, Hardin, just know when to shut your mouth.

  7. Adrian “Hanibel Lector” Peterson has a much softer side than Ray ” beat your wife to a pulp” Rice. Both fine upstanding citizens.

  8. The internet is a dangerous thing. We all know that everything we read or even see isn’t necessarily the truth and yet we believe the parts we choose to. Reporters are known to repeat unconfirmed stories so even trusted sources are not always correct. The people who saw the evidence refused to indict AP. Then they got new people. They managed to obtain an indictment and even though the state would gain from dragging this out, they settled quickly, taking what they could get. I don’t know which of the stories/photos/rumours etc are true, but evidence suggests that when people were shown the facts they didn’t try to convict him. This indicates to me that there is less to this than we think.

  9. “This is a parent disciplining a child and an unintended harm occurred. But it has nothing to do with child abuse, domestic abuse, family abuse and so on”

    Wow. I can’t believe he can say that with a straight face. It absolutely is child abuse.

    If Peterson really thinks that the injuries suffered by the child are “unintended harm,” he’s gotta be the dumbest athlete ever. What do you think is going to happen when you hit a kid with a stick and shove leaves in his mouth?

    SMH.

  10. Last time I checked, Ray Rice also entered into a plea deal that dropped his criminal charges and requiring him to complete court-supervised counseling. Of course people are going to compare the 2 cases, especially when it comes to the NFL’s punishment.

  11. These guys still don’t get it.
    When you have a half dozen kids with a half dozen different women, don’t really raise any of them but drop in occasionally to assert your paternal authority via physical violence, bad things are going to happen.

    If you are actually in your children’s lives, there are a multitude of ways to impart wisdom to your kids without beating them.
    But, if you’re lazy and a Romeo, you do what’s easy.

  12. Peterson if just as bad if not worse (worse IMO) than Ray Rice . . . he brutally beat/abused his helpless children (on multiple occasions) to the point the will have mental and physical scars for life . . . and, most likely, because of the great example their “loving dad” has set, they will beat/abuse their children too . . . what a joke!! THIS MAN SHOULD BE IN PRISON!!!

  13. Whipping a 4 year old kid with a switch that many times an drawing blood like that is not “unintended harm.” It is uncontrolled rage.

  14. There was a time when many more people thought it was okay to beat your wife/girlfriend. That changed over the years. Today a lot of people still think it’s okay to discipline your child till he bleeds and bruises. I wonder if that will ever change.

  15. I am absolutely disgusted by both Rice and Peterson, but Peterson, by far, is the worse of the two. Rice’s girlfriend chose to be in a sick relationship with him while Peterson’s child is at the mercy of his sick father. Peterson needs to be beaten with a switch with leaves shoved in his mouth. That, my friends, would be called assault and battery. Where’s the line drawn?????

  16. I love how judgmental everyone is. That’s America these days. I’m sure all of the commenters here have never done anything wrong. All morally untouchable, never overdid anything, never overreacted, never caused harm to anyone and never did anything regrettable. Too funny. Everyone is so righteous on the Internet. Oh I know… You’re not perfect but you’d never do what AP did right? Went too far disciplining your child? One time. AP has been a class act his entire career. He screwed up. It’s over. Be sure to windex those windows of your glass house before throwing more stones.

  17. Hmm Peterson was actually charged. Ray had all charges dropped. sounds like AP is nothing like Ray. #freerayrice

  18. That 4 year old kid is scarred for life. A 220 lb. man beating a child, don’t want him on my team or in my league. Remember he had another son which he never meet that was murdered by the boys step father.

  19. I had to create this damn thing so I could tell all of you how stupid you are. He disciplined his kid with a switch, so what. What would you guys prefer…timeouts? That will just give the kid time to plot his next wrongdoing. You have to ask yourselves, to what point is scolding enough? Kids grow up these days unaware about the consequences of their actions. Some discipline will make them think twice about throwing that temper tantrum in the middle of the store.

  20. These two guys together are one big lump of mental illness. BOTH have done horrible things,and not just once…neither one deserves to be defended. I wish they were gone from the NFL already.

  21. I’m all for spanking your kids. I’ve even used a belt a couple times. BUT, if you’re leaving wounds on you’re child, in the groin, on a 4 yr old… that’s over the top.

    This is coming from someone who does physically punish my kids for lying or stealing. Adrian Peterson is in the same category as Ray Rice.

    Throw in the fact that Peterson is running a non profit that pays for sexual parties and hides money. Adrian has more egg on his face than Rice. Peterson should be lucky if he ever plays again at all.

  22. viking10. So, he should be forgiven for brutally beating his child because we have all made mistakes? So, I guess, in your world-view, no one should be punished until we are all perfect?

    “Went too far disciplining your child?” Way, way too far

    “One time.” There are reports of multiple incidents with multiple children.

    “AP has been a class act his entire career.” That was true until this story came out. Are there others that were hidden? We (and you) don’t know his true character, only what we see. You have chosen to choose your star running back over a child. Clearly, you are better than the rest of us.

  23. He’s right. Ray Rice overreacted to a situation and threw one punch. AP plans the beatings of his “kids” and has it down to a routine (strong switch, leaves removed and stuffed in the kids mouth). AP is a much more dangerous person to society.

  24. Some people in the country still believe in corporal punishment. You can’t tell every kid timeout go stand in the corner , use your words everyone gets a trophy that’s why this country is in the shape it’s in.

  25. Getting No Respect- I am a big believer in punishing people who are wrong. He was arrested and convicted of a misdemeanor. He lost several games and will be fined. He received his sentence. However for more punishment I look for two things. What his intentions were and if he’s a repeat offender. I firmly believe his intentions were to discipline his son. Which on the surface is commendable compared to the hundreds of low life fathers in the NFL or the millions in America. The fact that he was watching his child being aggressive with other kids and addressing it ( however in excess) is commendable. Yes he went way too far. That’s why he was arrested. And I heard about other reports of abuse but since he was never charged I can’t believe there was any credibility to it. No neither one of us know him personally but I find it annoying for so many people to judge his character based on one confirmed incident. He accepted responsibility.

  26. “Some people in the country still believe in corporal punishment. You can’t tell every kid timeout go stand in the corner , use your words everyone gets a trophy that’s why this country is in the shape it’s in.”

    actually loubearkane, you could argue the people who have put this country where it is are the ones who parents beat them in the name of discipline.

    Is teaching/disciplining a child without hitting them harder/more complicated? ABSOLUTELY. That’s why lazy, selfish people continue to hit their kids instead.

  27. Man, the lawyers might be sharp in a court of law, but not the court of public opinion. Mr. Hardin should not be making public comments at this point…the legal case is over and Adrian seemed contrite at the conclusion of yesterday’s hearing.

    Now we can all hope that Adrian actually changes the way he approaches his personal relationships, especially those in those where he is a semi-absent father.

  28. Man, the lawyers might be sharp in a court of law, but not the court of public opinion. Mr. Hardin should not be making public comments at this point…the legal case is over and Adrian seemed contrite at the conclusion of yesterday’s hearing.

    Now we can all hope that Adrian actually changes the way he approaches his personal relationships, especially those where he is a semi-absent father.

  29. “This is a parent disciplining a child and an unintended harm occurred. But it has nothing to do with child abuse, domestic abuse, family abuse and so on”

    Perhaps…but it was still Domestic Violence…and being an attorney I thought it funny you’d forget to mention that fact.

  30. I agree Rusty, a grown woman is far different than a 4 year old boy and the woman has no chance of getting beat so bad that her scrotum bleeds so I can understand why they can’t be lumped together.

  31. Why don’t you smart butts become lawyer like Rusty then, if you want to change what he said. I 100% supporting his comment. He’s right, AP was trying to discipline his child. No one loves his child more than himself or are you clowns out there trying to say that you would love AP’s child more than him. You’re lying to yourself and the world moron. Let AP play football and just stay out of your hurting and jealousy butts.

  32. This is a disgusting joke. Both men abused someone weaker than them, both men are justifiably called criminals. Rice was intoxicated when he struck his adult fiance in the elevator. Being drunk is not an excuse and does not make him less of a criminal, but it was a contributing factor and hopefully he learns what drinking can do to him and the person it can turn him in to and he keeps the plug in the jug.

    Peterson beat, repeatedly, a defenseless child. He used a stick to make a four year old little boy bleed and scar and ruptured his testicles. He did this sober and with all of his (possibly limited) mental faculties in tact. And he’s done it more than once.

    I have no doubt that if there was a video of this huge human being repeatedly hitting this little boy with a stick he would never play in the NFL again and would probably be in jail. There is a lot you can say are similar but you’re right, he shouldn’t be in the same category as Rice. Your client is much worse.

  33. Adrian’s child did have the opportunity to defend himself. Don’t hurt your brother by pushing him off of an arcade game.

    The only out of touch people are those who act like the mom doesn’t want her son to have his dad, Adrian doesn’t love his son, and his son doesn’t want to have his dad anymore.

  34. It makes me very sad to think that it takes a video for something to be real to people, but apparently that is where we are. Just because there is no video doesn’t mean that child wasn’t screaming for help. Doesn’t mean that child wasn’t sobbing until his tears ran dry. It doesn’t mean that kid wasn’t desperately hoping that someone show up to save him from his FATHER.

  35. FACT: Mrs. Rice was a full-grown adult who still got knocked unconscious and had her unconscious body displayed to the public. Rice hit her out of anger, and then lied to the league and public about it.

    FACT: Adrian Peterson’s son didn’t even cry while being disciplined. Call Adrian anything you want, but he’s proven multiple times not to be a liar, and did not act out of rage or anger. Call him a child abuser, but then note that literally half the country’s parents are also child abusers, as this is a practice performed by literally millions of parents, and also a form of punishment APPROVED of by the RECIPIENTS of that kind of punishment, who believe they are better off for it.

    When a kid pushes another kid off a bike and injures them, that’s serious. If you don’t use serious punishment, that behavior doesn’t go away.

    SO, the only people with a right to speak out against Adrian as a child abuser are the parents who have been able to form consistent positive behavior in their children without any physical punishment. They’re out there, but they are FAAAAAR and few. Any non-parents/non-child caretaking persons can just keep their inexperienced mouths shut.

  36. “This is a parent disciplining a child and an unintended harm occurred. But it has nothing to do with child abuse…”
    ==========

    I recognize there can be a big difference between serial abusers (the worst of the worst) and isolated incidents of abuse….but of COURSE it has something to do with child abuse/child endangerment when “unintended harm” occurs through the willful actions of an adult.

    The injuries may have been unintended, but they were NOT accidental. I really hope Peterson realizes a line was definitely crossed, even if his lawyer is paid to try and obfuscate it.

  37. Of course you cannot lump him in with Ray Rice. Rice punched a woman who had spit in his face, slapped him and was coming toward him to attack again.

    Peterson whipped at least two little kids with stick, and at least one excessively so. At least one was younger than 5yrs old.

    IMO Peterson is a far greater danger and much more despicable.

  38. Regardless if Peterson struck his kids out of anger or not, I’m sure the child thought he was angry. Now we’ll have yet another boy grow up thinking its ok to hit his girl friend when he gets angry with her. Its a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped before it starts.

    If Peterson was caught on tape, I’m sure there would have been far more outcry than for Rice.

  39. viking10 says:
    Nov 5, 2014 10:37 AM

    I love how judgmental everyone is. That’s America these days. I’m sure all of the commenters here have never done anything wrong. All morally untouchable, never overdid anything, never overreacted, never caused harm to anyone and never did anything regrettable. Too funny. Everyone is so righteous on the Internet. Oh I know… You’re not perfect but you’d never do what AP did right? Went too far disciplining your child? One time. AP has been a class act his entire career. He screwed up. It’s over. Be sure to windex those windows of your glass house before throwing more stones.
    ==================================
    Whether the commenters have ever done “anything wrong” has no bearing on the Adrian Peterson issue and is simply a cheap fallacious attempt to create a straw man to discount others opinions regarding Peterson.

    All we know is that Peterson was caught one time disciplining his child. Whether or not it happened once or 100 times, none of us know.

    I’m not sure what your definition of “class act” is. Peterson has 7 kids with several different women. He never took the time to meet his 2 year-old-son who was murdered. He beat one of his kids amongst the legs and genitals, drawing blood, and allegedly shoved leaves in the kids mouth as well. If this falls under your definition of “class act”, I think you’ve set a pretty low bar.

    My guess is that you want to minimize Peterson’s actions so it’s easier to cheer for him.

  40. Summitmech-
    “FACT: Adrian Peterson’s son didn’t even cry while being disciplined.”

    Hard to cry with leaves shoved in your mouth. C’mon man you weren’t there you have no idea if the kid cried. I’ve seen 4 year olds drop an ice cream cone and start crying. Hard to imagine a 4 year old not crying after being hit in the scrotum and legs with a stick.

  41. Just completely shocked at the overall reaction on these boards. It is so out of hand that it points to 1 thing and 1 thing only. Fans of other teams are jealous and do not want the Vikings to have Peterson. Sad that people can’t seperate football from real life. I AM a Vikings fan and hated what Peterson did. Despised it! But it’s not comparable to Rice not even close. It was NOT abuse it was discipline that went too far and he was punished accordingly. The same way in court that any of us would have been. He also got the biggest suspension for any misdemeanour charge in league history. His suspension will equal an amount of lost pay that is unfathomable. We are talking around 10 million dollar fine in lost pay. Also lost endorsements, that will NEVER return. He has been completely honest and truthful through this whole sad ordeal. And this would change any human being for the better in the long run and I believe Peterson has learned a valuable life lesson. The hard way.

    Oh and don’t even get me started on the marijuana situation. It’s completely out of hand that this drug is illegal anywhere.
    Having a puff is no different than glass of wine or bottle of beer. That’s my opinion and I will never stray from it. Cigarettes should be made illegal and pot should not be.

  42. Rusty Hardin is a scumbag. He’s the cliche evil lawyer in movies. I can’t imagine what kind of stuff this guy says to his clients behind closed doors. He probably makes Saul from Breaking Bad look like a choir boy.

  43. Sorry penvick & pillowporkers, the two of you are dead WRONG.
    This has nothing to do with “we don’t want AP to play”

    KIDS…dammit! This is about Kids…

    There is a whole hell of lot wrong with the NFL right now. One of the GOOD things about the NFL is it’s outreach towards the communities across the USA, and that outreach is almost 90% about KIDS.

    Cannot have a child abuser in the league. Can’t have it.
    And by pleading out, he admitted he is a child abuser.

    Not too mention AP’s outreach is SHADY at best, you don’t need him.

    The Vikings are trending in the right direction, perhaps slowly, but the arrow is pointing up. A.Barr is gonna be a beast, new Stadium coming…turn the page.

  44. I know this is not going to be a popular opinion, but I also think what Ray Rice did was much worse.

    Peterson acted out of complete ignorance. He was raised (incorrectly) to think this is the way a child should be disciplined. I’m not someone that really believes in counseling, but I think AP could be “taught” how to properly discipline his children. Whereas Ray Rice was trying to purposely injure a woman.

  45. No man, in my book, beats his son in the scrotum.

    A real man can inflict the level of fear necessary to discipline a child without beating him up.

  46. at least janay was a grown adult who weighs 140+ pounds and bears some responsibility for instigating the fight

    you can’t say that about a 4 year old

  47. penvik:

    I actually agree with a lot of what you say, but I don’t know that the Vikings are really a team that anyone is really jealous of. Also, AP was suspended with pay, so he hasn’t lost any salary yet.

  48. Thing that gets me is the fact that so many simply accept players who get DUIs back onto their preferred team with barely a blink of the eye. These people seem to think that CHOOSING to drive after drinking too much is OK as long as no one else got hurt. Anyone who does drive whilst imparred are putting the lives of many innocent people at risk. The fact that many of these players could easily afford a cab or even driver service makes this crime worse.
    Why – you might ask – am I mentioning DUI in reference to Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice? Well it just seems to me that many people want to compartmentalise these admittedly horrible actions, and yet demand season or career long suspensions, and yet complain when a player gets suspended a couple of games for their first DUI.
    I just wish some people would get proper prospective, and allow the League to do their job – after any legal process has been finalised.

  49. Rice and his wife both need therapy. Both resorted to violence to resolve their issues. Pretty sure that Peterson’s kid didn’t attack his father (with a weapon, no less). He was a defenseless child.

    As for Hardin, he proved what a moron he is during the whole Clemens debacle. Not to mention his name is frickin’ Rusty. Where outside of Texas would that name get any credibility in a court of law?

  50. guitarkevin says:
    Nov 5, 2014 1:24 PM

    No man, in my book, beats his son in the scrotum.

    A real man can inflict the level of fear necessary to discipline a child without beating him up.
    ==================================
    A real man who needs to instill fear upon a 4 year-old to teach the difference between right and wrong isn’t much of a man at all.

    The point of any discipline is to teach a lesson, not to frighten or injure.

  51. Frank Booth- I’m not creating a straw man, I’m simply stating that no one is perfect. The guy made a mistake, committed one crime and has been legally sentenced. My point is that I’d be willing to bet that more than one of the righteous commenters calling for harsher punishment and ridiculing him have done far worse that Peterson. And that is what I think is entertaining. And you can talk about his children and I can talk about the positive things he’s done in his community and his charities. Rae Carruth set out to kill his pregnant girlfriend. I have no problem with a barrage of negative comments about that. But this is getting ridiculous. Grown men can be kinda dramatic sometimes. This beating will be life altering soon and the switch will be made of steel… And I heard AP is initialed on it.

  52. Yeah I would lump those two together as people who both should be playing football now. Ray rice fiancé (now wife) didn’t press charges. And now AP has been cleared with unintended harm. Does being cleared by the courts no longer mean anything is this country? When did tmz and social media become the justice dept. they were both cleared by the courts , served the 6 game suspension imparted by the new nfl code of contact. So let them do their jobs. Let’s be honest if you or I hit our kids or spouse would they take our jobs away( I think not)

    Ps I do not condone domestic violence

  53. Ray Rice hit his fiancé in the face during an alcohol fueled argument, an action that was a reactionary incident. What he did was horrible and he should have been punished more severely in a court of law.

    Adrian Peterson, with a clear mind, made the premeditated decision to beat his 4 year old child bloody with a branch and stuff leaves in his mouth. What he did was worse than what Rice did in my opinion.

    Bottom line, people who continuously try and minimize the sick and indefensible actions of Adrian Peterson sicken and frighten me.

  54. As a Viking fan Hardin is full of crap. In no way shape or form was it okay to do with Peterson did and it IS on the same level as Rice beating his then fiancé. The only difference is one was an adult and the other was a child. Which one is worse? I think they are both horrible regardless of what spin is put on it.

    With that being said, people do deserve second chances just as players have been given in the past. Peterson deserves punishment but he should be able to play again in the NFL. I didn’t always think that way but after the anger died down and things put in perspective comparatively with other player discipline, he should be reinstated.

    I think what should happen is, Peterson get fined for 4 of the games he missed and have to put that money toward a child advocacy program and he should go through extensive family advocacy education. Just my two cents.

  55. To the people who says Ray Rice was worse try this: imagine, like it was a TMZ video, you saw AP doing what he did. As you are imaging it in your mind don’t forget the 4 year old child tried to defend itself.

  56. saltynorthman says:
    Nov 5, 2014 2:34 PM

    Yeah I would lump those two together as people who both should be playing football now. Ray rice fiancé (now wife) didn’t press charges. And now AP has been cleared with unintended harm. Does being cleared by the courts no longer mean anything is this country? When did tmz and social media become the justice dept. they were both cleared by the courts , served the 6 game suspension imparted by the new nfl code of contact. So let them do their jobs. Let’s be honest if you or I hit our kids or spouse would they take our jobs away( I think not)

    Ps I do not condone domestic violence
    ==================================
    Actually, you do condone domestic violence. You seem to be OK with the act that Ray Rice committed since his wife didn’t press charges. The punch was clearly caught on video. But I guess the severity or impact is lessened because someone didn’t press charges.

    If a rape victim feared coming out and pressing charges, would that mean that a rape didn’t occur?

    If you’re in the public eye, your job matters. All sorts of public figures in high-profile jobs have been forced out of their jobs for various conduct issues, some of them not even subject to legal issues. Unless your in a high-profile job where you represent an organization and are well-known publicly and in your field, I wouldn’t compare your job to theirs.

    At the same time, there are plenty of organizations in lower key situations that fire people whose actions may reflect badly on their organization.

    Just say what’s important to you. You want Adrian Peterson back on the field. Period.

  57. I find it sickening so many people think disciplining a child by spanking them is worse, or in some cases “much worse”, than a man hitting a woman. Just sick.

  58. Big difference between intent and intention. He did not intend to ABUSE his child. Was a stick to harsh? I’d say yes but this man had the intention to PUNISH his child in the way that he himself, friends and family members grew up knowing.

  59. pillowporkers says:
    Nov 5, 2014 3:46 PM

    I find it sickening so many people think disciplining a child by spanking them is worse, or in some cases “much worse”, than a man hitting a woman. Just sick.
    ==================================This isn’t about a spanking. This is about a guy who hit his kid repeatedly on the legs and genitals, with an object, drawing blood and creating welts. There are pictures out there that show it. Allegedly shoved leaves into the kids mouth just for good measure. Pull your head out.

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