Friday, September 12, 2014

The Off Field Hits Just Keep Coming For the NFL

Adrian Peterson

S2N Media has learned Minnesota Vikings running back  Adrian Peterson,  has been charged in a child injury case in Montgomery County, Tex.

Rusty Hardin, a lawyer for Peterson, 29, confirmed the indictment Friday September 12. Hardin says the case stemmed from Peterson allegedly disciplining his son by spanking him with a tree branch. Peterson has cooperated with law enforcement in the case and testified before a grand jury for several hours, Hardin said.

The Vikings,  deactivated Peterson for their contest with the New England Patriots on Sunday September 14. The Vikings had said in a statement that they are “ in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation involving Adrian Peterson.” They deferred questions to Hardin.

News of Peterson’s indictment follows the much publicized  Ravens running back Ray  Rice's assault on his then fiance Jenay Palmer in an Atlantic City Casino elevator  - and the NFL’s  botched and anemic response to that incident.

Also in this mix is Carolina Panthers defensive end  Greg Hardy. Hardy was found guilty by a judge of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her. While he awaits a jury trial, several observers and fans think he should not be active on the Panthers roster.  The Hardy assault is void of graphic video but did produce  chilling 911 calls from a woman who begged the police to come quickly as she described Hardy beating up his then-girlfriend.

 There has been growing public demand, in the wake of the Ray Rice video and his subsequent indefinite suspension, for either the Panthers or the NFL to take Hardy off the field. That won’t happen.  Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is adamant about   the Panthers allowing the legal system play out.  He says he is keeping Hardy active pending the outcome of the trial.

That's not all. Just as the Ray Rice saga was peaking around it's own inflammatory video and the league's nonchalant attitude toward a woman getting knocked out by one of its star players - another NFL player assaulted a woman a few days after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced more severe penalties for employees guilty of domestic violence.

San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald was arrested on Saturday September 6 on charges of domestic abuse.  According to the San Francisco police department, McDonald was having a birthday party at his home on the  night of Saturday September 6  when police they were called to the home. His fiancee–who is pregnant—showed police bruising on her neck and arms resulting in the arrest of McDonald. The 49ers , like the Panthers elected to let the player in question remain active on the roster and playing pending the outcome of due process.

Post incident discoveries about the Rice issue has led to allegations of lying among NFL management, accusations of disregard toward the well being of women by the NFL, and the league meting out player punishment based on player performance.

By benching Peterson, the Vikings seem to be breaking away from the unwritten  league standard of allowing players to play that are involved in criminal accusations. The 49ers and Panthers are following a different template that in the current volatile waters the NFL is treading, may come back to haunt them depending upon the outcome of court proceedings.

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