Peterson has been accused of abusing two of his seven children in recent days. One case has resulted in reckless or negligent injury to a child charges being filed against Peterson. If convicted Peterson could face two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. His initial court hearing is set for October 8 in Conroe, Texas.
In the first reported case, photos show that Peterson inflicted significant injury on his four year old son by using a switch to beat him in the legs and scrotum. In a case that was reported last night by a Houston television station, Peterson is accused of beating another four year old child in 2013 and leaving a scar on his head.
After deactivating Peterson for one game, the Vikings announced that he will be allowed to rejoin the team for this week’s game against the Saints. Clearly, the team placed its own selfish interests above the welfare of Peterson’s children and disregarded the serious charges against him. Sadly, the Vikings knew about both allegations and decided that he should play.
This decision has been unpopular with many Vikings fans and former players and has even caused a corporate sponsor, the Radisson hotel chain, to suspend their sponsorship of the team. Obviously, Radisson officials were not pleased to see their logo behind the Vikings General Manager at his news conference as he tried to explain why Peterson would be playing this Sunday.
Peterson is possibly the best player in the NFL and is a former MVP, so it is clear he is extremely talented and is crucial to the success of the Minnesota Vikings. Nevertheless, former Vikings Quarterback Fran Tarkenton believes that Peterson should not be playing while the child abuse case is still ongoing. He said that he was “embarrassed” by the team’s decision. According to Tarkenton, “This is way above winning or losing a football game. I strongly disagree with the notion of playing him this week.” He continued, “They have a better chance of winning with their best player, that’s the message they’re sending, that is the message that’s being sent by this action. Winning is more important than defending a 4-year-old child.”
Former Vikings receiver Cris Carter also expressed support for benching Peterson in light of the child abuse accusations. Carter believes that Peterson should be “off the field.”
Since the Vikings have decided that winning a football game is more important than criminal charges being lodged against their star running back, the NFL should take action on their own. The league needs to send a message that child abuse is a serious issue.
In recent weeks, the NFL has rectified their inadequate policy on domestic abuse. The league also needs to take a strong stand against child abuse.
A clear message is not only needed to guide the players in the league, but also to protect their children.