It just keeps getting worse.

There seems to be no end in sight for the NFL’s seemingly limitless supply of players in trouble with the law, and almost upon hearing the details of the latest culprit, the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, you knew there was no good way for the league to handle it.

Peterson has been charged with injuring his four year old son while disciplining him.  The running back’s corporal punishment of choice was to use a switch to administer the beating, while stuffing leaves in the child’s mouth to keep him from making noise.

If Adrian Peterson did this to me, I’d sue him for $10 million dollars and he’d probably do jail time.

Because he did it to a defenseless four year old, however, he’s probably looking at probation at worst.  Like I said, there’s no good way for the league to handle a situation like this when society’s norms on the subject are so ass backward.

This is Adrian Peterson.  His future as an on-call babysitter is in serious jeopardy right now.

Adrian Peterson

Morever, Peterson’s lawyer has already started advancing what you can only call the “Michael Vick defense,” suggesting that this type of discipline is how he, Peterson, himself was raised.  The lawyer also mentioned East Texas at least a half dozen times, suggesting that at some point we’ll be hearing how we shouldn’t let “New York elitists” judge good ol’ honest East Texas behavior.  The only thing he didn’t mention (and I assure you, this will be next) is how Adrian Peterson was only exercising his “personal freedom” to discipline his child, as we all are free to do.

But is this case really an issue of personal freedom?  Does my personal freedom allow me to commit a rape or an armed robbery?  This is different, you say, this is something a man did in his own home.

If that’s so, then can I use my personal freedom in the sanctity of my own home to burn my house down and not get charged with arson?  Can I grow and use my own drugs in my own home?  No, but I can beat my child, as long as I don’t cross some imaginary line where I cause permanent injury.  I used to also be able to beat my wife if I didn’t cross that same imaginary line, but now only the kids have open season left on them.

What kind of fucked up system is that?

Then again, it’s pretty clear we still don’t have a proper handle on how to handle the domestic violence issue in the aftermath of the Ray Rice video.  This morning on ESPN, Jemele Hill rather astutely pointed out that the Panthers’ Greg Hardy was still slated to play this afternoon, despite having been convicted of domestic assault and despite the fact that victim’s testimony in that case was far more horrific than the rather mundane facts of the Ray Rice case.  As she put it, “[I]f what Greg Hardy did was on video, would he be playing today?  And I have to think the answer is no.”

As it turns out, not, but Carolina truly waited until the 11th hour to deactivate him, fueling speculation and criticism up until the point when the Panthers finally caved in.  And again, why did it take until the last second?  Would it have if Hardy’s bad behavior were on video?  Probably not, and why not?

Do we not believe the victim despite the fact that a conviction was already of record?

This is Jemele Hill.  Listen to her, she’s smart.

Jemele Hill

Feminist legal scholars seeking to address the issue of how the legal system deals with rape and domestic violence came up with “believe the woman” early on as one way society miserably failed women who were victims of this type of crime.  That was decades ago, yet we still, for some reason, need video proof before we are willing to believe it.  Contrast this with how ready some people are to believe that the African American victims of shootings, both by the police and by the public at large, provoked the shooting despite being unarmed.

All of which highlights how you can really feel bad for the NFL trying to deal with these issues, except…

The NFL naturally deserves to be getting shit on right now, because it wanted its consolidated power to remain consolidated, because it didn’t want the union getting any stronger or having any greater say in how things were done, and because it didn’t want a commissioner; in essence, it wanted a fuhrer.

And that’s exactly how Herr Goodell acts when meting out NFL suspensions.  And thanks to a variety of asinine decisions, made before anyone knew the NFL was going to literally explode with disciplinary issues this season, every suspension gets compared to Josh Gordon’s 16 games for smoking a little pot.

When supreme leader Roger Goodell says “shit,” you ask what color.

Roger Goodell

And don’t buy that crap about Gordon being a repeat offender.  Who cares?  You can get 5 parking tickets in a row and it’s still just a $30 fine every time.

Similarly, you don’t get two years suspended for murder if it’s your first murder.  Since the NFL wanted sole say in how it’s disciplinary policies were to be administered, the NFL now has sole responsibility to fix the giant pile of crap it’s left at its own door.

Don’t expect any sympathy from the rest of us.


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