Several weeks ago I announced that I was going to be a better Vikings fan. After years of being nothing but a fair weather fan somewhat begrudgingly I decided to step up and do my part. This is in no small part because of my friend Stella’s role in helping the Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl last year. She and apparently everyone in the great state of Seattle sport their Seahawks jerseys each and every Friday during the football season. The wearing of the jersey appeases the football gods and to the team with the most enthusiastic fandom victory is bestowed.

Which might be one of the reasons the Vikings lose every single year.

Or it could be that they suck, I’m not really sure because I don’t watch the games.

But, I wanted to do my part this year so I actually went out to the internet and scored a jersey of my own. I didn’t really care whose number it was and bought the first one I stumbled across.

I was excited to wear my jersey once the weather got a little cooler because while I want to be supportive I don’t want to get all hot and sweaty either.

This past Friday we had perfectly wonderful fall like temperatures in Minnesota which meant it was a perfect day to sport my new Adrian Peterson jersey. It was also the day that Adrian Peterson was indicted for child abuse.

There has been no wearing of the jersey.

Go Vikes

I have a lot of mixed emotions about this mess with Adrian Peterson. It follows right behind the brouhaha about Ray Rice and the abuse of his now wife in an elevator in Las Vegas. Rice’s wife is standing by her man though the Ravens aren’t. Rice has been suspended indefinitely.

At first Peterson was deactivated from the team for the first game of the season. Of course without Peterson the Vikes lost big time. Earlier this week the team announced that Peterson would play this Sunday but after the inevitable uproar they have decided to deactivate him until this mess is figured out.

Adrian Peterson has admitted to “whooping” his 4 year old son with a switch. Until all of this I’d only seen vague references to a switch — I believe in the book To Kill a Mockingbird during the testimony of Mayella Ewell. For northerners a switch is a tree branch that has been stripped of its leaves. After talking to a few people from the south I have learned it is customary for a child to go and choose his own switch prior to a beating.

The pictures of Peterson’s child are horrific. Not only are his legs and buttocks scraped and bruised but according to Peterson he also scratched and bruised his scrotum. I don’t know what the child did to warrant a beating such as this but I can’t imagine anything a child could do to warrant a beating such as this.

The problem I am having is that it doesn’t appear that Peterson had any idea that beating his child with a switch was a bad thing. He didn’t appear to be ashamed of it, he didn’t try to hide it and when questioned by the authorities he was forthcoming about any and all details. He didn’t understand that he had done anything wrong by hitting his child with a stripped tree branch.

Since this story broke everyone has had an opinion and from what I have seen people are really torn about this. Corporal punishment is legal. It’s still okay to spank your kids and students in some states. I have spanked my kids. Though, never with anything but my hand and never on bare skin. I’m not saying that makes it right or less bad, I’m just clarifying.

What troubles me about this story is that I want it to go away. I’m ashamed that this happened to a Viking and one of the better ones (if not the best) we have on the roster right now. I hate to admit that. I’m not much of a fan, certainly not a good one ( I don’t understand much about football ) but it’s still shameful to be from the state with the child abuser on the team.

Though I understand the NFL is chock full of violent men who like to hit.

There is a part of me that wants to think we as a society can fix Adrian Peterson. I don’t think he meant to hurt his child, emotionally at least, I think he thought he was being a responsible dad by disciplining his child.

Since the story broke Peterson has lost considerable contracts, as have the Vikings. Nike has pulled the #28 Adrian Peterson jersey at the Mall of America, their best selling jersey, and Wheaties has severed ties with Peterson. Even Governor Dayton has weighed in on this story asking that Peterson be deactivated or suspended while the legal process takes place – which sounds a lot like guilty until proven innocent but this is a high profile case and Peterson has admitted to the deed.

I’d like to think he deserves a second chance. I mean if Michael Vick can come back can’t an Adrian Peterson? What do you think? Should he be banned for life, suspended or reinstated so the Vikings still have a chance?*

Do you think what Adrian Peterson has done is a crime? Have you ever spanked your kid with a switch?

* Let’s not kid ourselves the Vikings don’t have a chance. They barely did before all this happened and now it will overshadow the whole season no matter what they do with Peterson.