In an era where the NFL Commissioner has come under fire for his handling of many things, this one is not going to be one of them.
The NFL had to level a severe penalty to Adrian Peterson, the once mighty superstar running back of the Minnesota Vikings.
Peterson was suspended by the Vikings, with pay until further notice regarding his hearing for child abuse charges back in August. Since pleading no contest earlier in November, and basically admitting that he beat his son, Peterson was closing in on a return -- that was until the NFL put a stop to all of that suspending him for the year without pay.
The information that came out regarding the situation, from images of scares on the child left by Peterson, to the facts that Peterson used a switch (tree branch) to beat his son for what he termed disciplinary reasons was too much to bear; not after the NFL already had a black eye over the Ray Rice fiasco. Bravo to Goodell for showing the guts to make such a tough move on a once very popular player.
Goodell leveled a severe and fair penalty to Peterson, and by reading his statement he made it sound like it would be a very long time before we ever see Peterson on the field again. Goodell says that Peterson's potential reinstatement into the NFL will be "based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in the decision. Under a two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions."
So for Peterson to even dream of returning to an NFL playing field he will have to undergo counseling, and rehabilitation. He cannot afford to another slip up or he is finished. The press release goes on to add that the NFL has instructed Peterson to seek help from Dr. April Kuchuk by December 1. She is to develop the program for counseling, therapy and community service for him to follow strictly.
Goodell even takes time to admonish Peterson for his actions. Many have defended Peterson's actions as his rights as a father. However, Peterson went too far. What may have seemed like discipline to Peterson years and years ago as a child, and to a select few is in fact abuse. No child, no matter how old they are should be beaten to a pulp by their parents. That is not discipline. It's criminal.
Goodell said as much: "When indicted you acknowledged what you did but said you would not eliminate whooping my kids and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child's mother. These comments raise serious concern that you do not fully appreciate the seriousness of your conduct, or even worse, that you may feel free to engage in similar conduct in the future."
READ THE ENTIRE GOODELL PRESS RELEASE.
Peterson can appeal through the Players Association and try to get onto the field by Sunday. The Association is already trying to do as much, however ESPN reports that such a process could be a little more complex and will involve a lot of lawyers. In short the NFLPA is on the short end of the stick here.
While the NFLPA has every right to protect its clients, DeMaurice Smith and company are barking up the wrong tree here. Peterson deserves to sit out for the rest of this season, and if he fails to show the kind of improvement that Roger Goodell and the rest of society is looking for, he deserves to never play in the NFL again.
This is only the beginning of what could turn into a long, long litigation process. Lawyers take your places.