On Sunday, many Vikings fans didn’t let child-abuse charges against Adrian Peterson deter their support for the All Pro running back.
Many wore his number 28 jersey to their game against the Patriots at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. One zealous fan took her support a couple steps further by donning a Viking helmet, a #28 jersey, and carrying a switch with her. She spent the day lightly hitting other fans with it, mimicking the whipping that Peterson inflicted on his four year old child, which allegedly resulted in multiple lacerations, welts, and bruises over the boy’s body.
The All Pro running back released from custody on $15,000 bail was deactivated from Sunday’s game by the Vikings and faces a felony child abuse charge that carries a punishment of up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Vikings fan Dustin Musland of Ham Lake, Minnesota, who also came to the game in a Peterson jersey, said: “You got to let the due process kind of go to figure out everything behind the scenes (that) happened with that.”
Yet, not all Viking fans were quite so supportive. “He was my favorite player, but after stuff like that comes out, it makes you realize that (with) the guys that you’re cheering for, you don’t always know what’s going on,” admitted Brent Vandergriend, who insists that he will never wear Peterson’s jersey again and that NFL players really aren’t good role models.
NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley weighed in on the subject in an interview on CBS’s NFL Today, claiming that the pictures of the beaten young boy were “disturbing,” and that Peterson “went overboard.”
Barkley suggested that corporal punishment is a cultural phenomenon and is administered by many African American parents in the South. “Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances,” Barkley maintained. “But as far as being from the South, we all spanked our kids — I got spanked, me and my two brothers.”
The Vikings announced on Monday that Peterson will return to the team immediately and play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t use Peterson as an excuse for getting trounced by the Patriots 30-7 in their home opener. “You know what affected the team? Throwing interceptions, getting a field goal blocked, not tackling well enough, having penalties on defense,” Zimmer asserted. “That’s what affected the team. The team was fine.”