The star Minnesota Viking running back is back in the news. We've all heard of how he "switched" his kid a few months back. NFL Commish Roger Goodell has suspended Petersen without pay for the remainder of this season, not to be considered for reinstatement until at least April of next year. The Union is crying foul. Let's look a little closer.
In his statement, Goodell cited a few reasons for handing down this punishment. These included the fact the kid was only 4, and duh, daddy was a lot stronger, and also because Petersen hasn't shown "remorse". But wait a second....
Yours truly can't remember anything that happened when I was 4, but hasn't forgotten the belt that would flog my backside (both mom and dad) when I got out of line early on in grade school. It only took a few of those to realize there were some definite no-nos. Right or wrong, running afoul of parental law could get painful. Having seen the photos, this is not to say Petersen didn't go a bit over the top with his switch -- I believe he did -- but who am I to judge how a parent in a different part of the country disciplines their child? One thing I do know is the lessons of that belt stuck have stuck with me to this day. Even though I could now get away with some things -- I still don't do them -- because I know they're wrong. Though I didn't like it much at the time, I thank my parents for instilling those values in me.
And this whole remorse thing has gotten way out of control. As the man once said, if you do the crime, you do the time -- and then it's supposed to be over. As a child, such things as disrepecting an adult or getting caught stealing anything -- even a candy bar from the local store -- guaranteed a date with the belt. I still say please and thank you to this day, to people and even children I don't know, and wouldn't dream of stealing anything, nor will I tolerate a person in my life who I know does steal. When I got caught as a kid, I paid the price -- but then it was over. I knew mom and dad still loved me, but there was no need to drag it on. The message was clear and understood. There are lines not to be crossed.
Not any more. These days it's not enough to just do the time for a "crime". The jurisprudence system has gone all in on "remorse". They expect any defendant to grovel, admit they're a terrible human being, go to counselling, etc., etc. And when it comes to high profile cases -- re-enter the likes of Adrian Petersen.
The media wants him to grovel. His employer, the NFL, wants him to grovel, and no doubt millions of ordinary people who have been brain-washed expect him to grovel. But wait a second....
Why should Petersen grovel? He had his day in court, pled guilty to a misdemeanor, and was sentenced accordingly. It's supposed to be over. However, the NFL has this pesky (very grey area) clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which states the league can impose further punishment over and above the court system for behavior deemed to run afoul of their own standards.
Perhaps that's fair enough -- to a point. Once Petersen was implicated in the "switching", he was placed on a mysterious thing called the Commissioner's Exempt List. Basically, he couldn't play for the Vikings, but would continue to receive his salary, pending the outcome of his case.
As mentioned above, this has been resolved in court. Remember, Petersen was convicted of only a misdemeanor, not a felony. At that, the "plea bargain" made sense for both sides. While the media coverage and graphic photos of "junior's" behind fanned the flames, one must also remember this happened in Texas. The prosecutor likely didn't relish the idea of going for the kill by presenting such a case to a jury of Petersen's peers. Many folks in the Lone Star State don't much cotton to the government telling them how they can and cannot discipline their kids. That would have been a roll of the dice indeed -- by both sides. It would have depended on the 12 folks sitting in the jury box.
To date in 2014, Adrian Petersen has only played one game for the Vikings before he was shelved. But wait a second....
He's been paid his full salary for the next 9 games. Former player and current talking head Jerome Bettis said nothing is more important to a player than actually playing. Even the money. Though perhaps well-intentioned, methinks the good Mr. Bettis knows better than that in his heart. If that were the case, everybody would play for free -- just for the honor of being in the NFL. Please, Jerome. Fans can be dumb, but not THAT dumb.
Petersen's salary is roughly $14,400,000 this year. Let's round it up a tad and say he stood to make a million bucks a game. He's collected 10 game checks, but only played in one, while perfectly healthy. Most people in the real world would be thrilled to collect their full salary for a couple months while not having to go to work.
But pending an appeal, and good luck with that, Roger Goodell has cut off Petersen's million dollar a week free-ride gravy train. Yo Adrian is not happy. The Union is not happy. And I'd wager Mrs. Petersen is definitely not happy. The NFL's view is that Petersen hasn't been punished at all so far. He's collected almost 9 million bucks for doing nothing. A valid point.
Most NFL analysts, experts, talking heads (you know -- the geniuses) have suggested that Petersen running afoul of the NFL's "personal conduct" code would normally result in a six game suspension -- without pay. They've also suggested, and likely rightfully, that the league is hammering Petersen as a make-up public relations call on how bad they botched the Ray Rice incident. But wait a second. What if....
Petersen were to come out and say tomorrow that he'd give back 6 game checks to the NFL, or the charity of their choice, but wanted immediate reinstatement? He's clear in the courts. It would have cost him roughly a whopping 6 million dollar fine and, even by Jerome Bettis's standards, the agony of sitting out three more games. Or maybe even give all 9 back, with the stipulation he doesn't have to go see a bunch of NFL mandated shrinks, much less grovel with pseudo remorse. He did the crime, he did the time, he paid the fine, and it's over. Let's rock and roll.
And wouldn't that be interesting?