Adrian Peterson Says Roger Goodell ‘Blind’ To What He Went Through

Adrian Peterson
The Associated Press

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson opened up about his 2014 suspension and child-abuse case to Sports Illustrated. Peterson says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was no help at all during his troubles and didn’t understand what he went through.

In September of 2014, the NFL’s active leader in rushing yards faced accusations that he abused his son. While photos of the child’s injuries led to legal troubles, Peterson expresses resentment toward the punishment from the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell. In a new interview Peterson, who rebounded from his troubles by leading the league in rushing this season, hinted that the commissioner didn’t treat him fairly during the incident and that cultural misunderstandings influenced his suspension.

Peterson told Sports Illustrated this month.

Roger Goodell, man, I don’t know. This is when I knew he was blind to the fact of what I was going through. I sat down with him. He asked me, ‘What is a whuppin’? … It was one of the first questions…. It kind of showed me we were on a totally different level. It’s just the way of life. For instance, in Texas, we know what whuppin’s are. Down there, if it snows, people are going to go crazy. They’re going to close schools. They’re going to shut it down. Here, you’re used to that. It was just a tough situation, because of misperception. … I get it. I get why. But you still shouldn’t pass judgment on people when you don’t know.

Peterson went on to say that early in the incident he experienced a lot of trouble trying to even get a meeting with Goodell to discuss the situation. Further, Peterson says that when Goodell later insisted that the player had shown “no meaningful remorse,” he wondered just what he was supposed to do.

“Peterson was perplexed. He had apologized. He had said he never meant to harm his son. He had promised to ‘reevaluate’ his disciplinary methods. What more did he have to do,” Sports Illustrated wrote.

But Peterson’s point that he and Goodell come from two different worlds is an interesting one. Peterson’s father went to jail on money laundering/drug charges and one of his brothers was murdered. Aside from a hard personal life, Peterson comes from a far more rural and traditional area having been born in Palestine, Texas—a small town south east of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Goodell was born to a well-to-do family in New York with a father who was a U.S. Senator. The commish earned a degree in economics from Washington & Jefferson College and has served in one position or another in the NFL since 1982.

The two men have led very different lives.

Still, despite the legal matters, Peterson said that he thinks that he is a good father regardless of what the courts or public opinions say.

“I know in my heart there’s not many fathers better than me,” the player said. “I’m that father that the kids run to. I’m the father they want to wrestle and play with.”

The player also noted that he felt so mistreated by the league that he considered walking away from football altogether.

Peterson is back on track and once again doing well on the field but only just over year ago he was charged with “reckless or negligent injury to a child” after images of his son were made public showing bruises and contusions on the child’s legs. Peterson later admitted that he used a wooden spoon to discipline the child.

In November of 2014, Peterson pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge of recklessly assaulting his four-year-old son but he avoided jail time with a plea agreement. He was placed on probation, fined $4,000, and assigned to 80 hours of community service.

But that wasn’t the end of the recriminations. The player also found condemnation in the NFL with Commissioner Roger Goodell passing judgment on his actions. Eventually the league suspended Peterson, keeping him off the field for the rest of the 2014 season. However, by February of 2015, the player was reinstated after a ruling by a federal judge and he was back practicing with the Vikings by June of that year.

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