Free agency is upon us. That time of year where most fans, and even a few NFL executives, eschew any notion of player value or fiscal responsibility, in the pursuit of Super Bowl greatness. Invariably though, this emotionally-driven quest brings us to a dilemma, where decision makers must decide if talented players with checkered pasts are worth the financial and moral nosedive it would take to sign them.
Such a discussion took place in the column of Green Bay Press-Gazette columnist Peter Dougherty. In that column, Dougherty made the case that the Green Bay Packers should sign future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson to bolster their backfield.
After discussing what Peterson would bring to the Packers from a football standpoint, Dougherty then swerved into the topic of Peterson’s past child abuse incident. While making some points about how our culture and society views child abuse, Dougherty explained what he believes might have led to Peterson to the point of being comfortable using corporal punishment.
As for Peterson, society is changing fast, and obviously for the better, on many things, including disciplining children. I’m 55 and have friends about a generation older who say corporal punishment in school was routine. That’s not that long ago.
Let’s also not forget that Peterson likely is descended from slaves who suffered savage disciplinary beatings generation after generation after generation. It excuses nothing but also can’t be ignored. This is learned behavior.
Peterson, like Vick, paid his penalty. He took a plea bargain in a Texas court and was suspended by the NFL without pay for the final six games of 2014.
Because child abuse only occurs in communities that descend from slaves, obviously.
The comment, with the exception of the portion talking about ‘learned behavior,” has been taken down. The Green Bay Press-Gazette issued an apology for Dougherty’s comments:
Note to readers: A paragraph in an earlier version of Pete Dougherty’s column that included a reference to Peterson’s punishment of his 4-year-old son being connected to America’s history of slavery was removed. It was poorly reasoned and insensitive. We apologize to all readers who were offended.
If Green Bay is thinking about forming an Adrian Peterson media recruitment team to bring the running back to the “Green and Gold,” might want to leave Pete Dougherty off of it.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn