We’re still focused on the wrong thing in the Peterson child abuse case.
Breaking News (2:39 PM CST, November 4, 2014):
The Tennessean is reporting that Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson, has resolved his felony child abuse case by pleading no contest to a reduced charge of misdemeanor reckless assault. As part of the plea deal, Peterson be ordered to pay a $4,000 fine, court costs, and to serve 80 hours of community service. He will avoid jail time.
The Tennessean article goes on to say:
The immediate question is when Peterson, the 2012 NFL’s Most Valuable Player, will return to the field for the Minnesota Vikings, who on Sept. 17 placed the 2012 NFL MVP on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list, which required Peterson to remain away from all team activities. Peterson, 29, has missed eight games with pay.
Really? That is the immediate question? Have we learned nothing?
The immediate question shouldn’t be whether or not a football player will take the field again.
The immediate question should be if this child, and the rest of his children, are safe and will be protected from future violence and torture at the hands of their father.
That this is not clear is one of the reasons that child abuse continues to be such a terrible scourge in our society.
The above quote from Brent Schrotenboer’s Tennessean article, which also appeared in the USA Today version of the same article, was recently changed. Instead of the original “the immediate question,” it now reads “a big question.” The point remains the same.
Below is the text of the e-mail I sent to Mr. Schrotenboer, minutes after publishing this article:
Dear Mr. Schrotenboer,
I read with great concern your piece on the Adrian Peterson plea deal that was just posted on USA Today’s website.
Millions and millions of children are emotionally, physically, and sexually abused every day in this country. Therefore my heart sank.when I read your assertion that:
“The immediate question is when Peterson will return to the field for the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson, 29, had missed eight games with pay while the case was pending. On Sept. 17, the team placed him on exempt/commissioner’s permission list, which required the former NFL MVP to remain away from all team activities.”
Part of the problem that we face in addressing the scourge of child abuse is exactly this prioritization of a star athlete’s ability to perform on the field over his ability to perform as decent, ethical human being. As such, I felt it was important to share with you the following comment that I posted on the article itself, and to my personal and MaleSurvivor’s organizational Facebook pages, and also that has just been published by my colleagues at the Good Men Project:
The immediate question shouldn’t be whether or not AP will take the field again. The immediate question should be if this child, and the rest of his children, are safe and will be protected from future violence and torture at the hands of their father. That this is not clear is one of the reasons that child abuse continues to be such a terrible scourge in our society.
I hope that you and your colleague Mr. Prisbell will take these comments into consideration as you continue to work on this story, and the inevitable future stories of domestic violence, sexual violence, and other kinds of abuse that are sure to follow.
ChrisChristopher M. AndersonExecutive Director
(Photo Credit: Associated Press/Pat Sullivan)
Click here, for Chris Anderson’s follow-on piece, Love Is Not a Defense for Abuse.
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