NFL scandal asks what counts as child abuse



Adrian Peterson is one of the NFL’s most prolific running backs. He came back from a torn ACL in the 2012-13 season to come 8 yards short of the all-time single season rushing record. His 2014 season is most likely over due to the fact that his first court date is set in 2015. PC: MCT Photo

Adrian Peterson has recently come under extreme scrutiny from the public and national media about the incident involving his four-year-old son, in which he hit the child with a switch. a small tree branch, leaving bruises and scars across the child’s lower body.

He has since been indicted by a grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child and has since been placed on the exempt list by the Minnesota Vikings, which means he will be paid but not participate in team activities until his legal issues are resolved.

This has also illuminated cultural differences when some prominent African-Americans came out and defended Peterson. Charles Barkley is quoted saying on NFL Today with Jim Rome.

“I’m from the south. I understand Boomer’s (Esiason) rage and anger. He’s a white guy and I’m a black guy. I don’t know where he’s from, I’m from the South. Whipping- we do that all the time. Every black parent in the south is going to be in jail under those circumstances,” said Barkley.

Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush also defended Peterson in an interview with WFAN’s “Boomer and Carton” show.

“I was punished the same way and I know a lot of my friends and a lot of the guys I played with, they were punished the same way too. I got what we call whoopings,” said Bush.

Not everyone is defending Peterson. Former NBA center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote a guest column for “Time” magazine in which he wrote, “The five most destructive words to our village are ‘That’s how I was raised.’ These words are the triumph of routine over reason, of self-delusion over self-interest, of excuses over evidence. In short, the phrase embodies the kind of muddled thinking that our culture ‘officially’ stands against because doing something just because ‘that’s how I was raised’ is the definition of hive mentality. It’s celebrating the joys of brainwashing over rational decision-making.”

There is a very fine line between child abuse and corporal punishment. Maybe what Barkley said has to do with the fact that this is a very old idea. That being said, this was over the line. This was a four-year-old that did something so terrible that it warranted being hit numerous times by a small tree branch.

We cannot tell parents how to parent their children, but this is not parenting. I hope Peterson realizes his mistake and accepts whatever comes to him. Society in general needs to rethink this. This is 2014. Whatever you grew up with may not be acceptable anymore.