I feel like I should start just by explaining my headline. I don’t have a problem with the Vikings reactivating Adrian Peterson, but the reason is not simply because of how bad/not bad what he did was. I’m saying that I have no problem with Peterson being back simply because of how Peterson handled it in his comments released today.
Peterson seemed sincere in his apology, explained his faulty reasons for how he has previously justified disciplining his son by using a switch, and expressed a desire to change that also seems sincere. What more could we ask for?
All too often, I hear BS apologies or apologies where the guy just doesn’t seem to get it, which might be even worse, like Ray Rice sounding like he wasn’t apologizing for actually clocking his fiance, but for doing something that would reflect badly upon him. Isn’t this exactly what we need from a guy like All Day? Remorse, a somewhat logical explanation showing us that his heart was in the right place even if his actions were still horrible, and a promise to change?
Saying that the NFL “needs to stand for something” by keeping Peterson off the field for longer is just plain stupid in this situation — not every situation, but definitely in this one. Similar to what I said in my piece about how long of a suspension domestic violence deserves, I don’t see the rationale by automatically saying “No, this guy can’t come back.” If someone like AP is willing to make a public statement about how wrong his actions were, then we’ll use that in order to show people that what he did was wrong. The NFL can still stand for something good while allowing Peterson back onto the field, and Peterson’s mature reaction assures that.
Peterson has people’s ears all over the world because of his importance, especially among those who grew up in a tough environment like his. It’s pretty powerful for him to stand up and say, “I don’t care that a switch helped me, and I don’t care that so many parents do what I did. It’s wrong.” Far more powerful than him never being on the same stage again. It’s not easy to admit when you’re wrong, and when you do, people tend to take notice. Let’s have Adrian Peterson in the backfield again, and let’s use him as the poster child not only for never putting a hand on one’s kid, but for owning a mistake.
NOTE: Reports surfaced today that there’s more to the story. If Peterson’s history of hitting his his kids is really that bad, obviously that could change what I’ve said.