05172021

Myers: Roger Goodell must get it right this time and get tough on Adrian Peterson

Roger Goodell can discipline Adrian Peterson immediately and restore order to a league that seems to have gotten out of control.Elaine Thompson/ASSOCIATED PRESS Roger Goodell can discipline Adrian Peterson immediately and restore order to a league that seems to have gotten out of control.



Roger Goodell doesn’t need to wait for TMZ to come up with video from Adrian Peterson’s whooping room to suspend him for conduct detrimental to little kids.


If Goodell is going to redeem himself for initially going soft on Ray Rice punching out his wife until the elevator video surfaced, and regain his credibility when so many think he’s not being forthcoming about when he first saw the video or whether it was sent to his office in April, it has to be right now by sitting down one of the best players in the NFL.


The league run by Goodell is out of control. Peterson deserves his day in court to determine whether he’s going to jail for hitting his 4-year old son repeatedly in May with the branch of a tree as a barbaric means of discipline, but Goodell does not have to wait. A Houston television station reported Monday night that Peterson is accused of injuring another of his sons when he was disciplining him, but his attorney Rusty Hardin said the accusation was more than a year old and no action was taken by authorities.


Goodell has the right as commissioner to suspend him now. He must suspend him now for conduct detrimental to the NFL.


On Monday, he did nothing.


He has a few more days to make sure Peterson doesn’t play Sunday in New Orleans after the Vikings reactivated him Monday.


The personal conduct policy does not require cases first be adjudicated in order for Goodell to impose discipline. It doesn’t require a conviction. It requires common sense. One of the circumstances that allow Goodell to punish Peterson is “egregious circumstances, significant bodily harm or risk to third parties, or an immediate and substantial risk to the integrity and reputation of the NFL.”


Take your pick.


“I am not a perfect son, I am not a perfect husband, I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser,” Peterson said in a statement Monday.


According to the police report, he kept whacking his son with a “switch,” and the bruises in the pictures released by the police are painful to look at. Is that not child abuse? “I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended and thought would happen,” he said. “I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand that after meeting with a psychologist that there are alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.”


The Vikings deactivated Peterson for Sunday’s game against the Patriots shortly after the news came out Friday that he had been indicted for abusing his son. He turned himself in Saturday morning in Texas and was quickly released after posting bond. The Vikings lost 30-7 to the Patriots, quarterback Matt Cassel was intercepted four times, sacked six times and Minnesota rushed for just 54 yards.


Big surprise: Punishment over. The Vikings reinstated Peterson and said he will play Sunday in New Orleans.


Their conscience went only as far as one loss when they could have kept deactivating him with pay. The entire NFC North is 1-1 and the Vikings weren’t going to beat the Patriots anyway. But they are now hiding behind due process even though Peterson’s statements to law enforcement authorities in Texas don’t deny the act, just the intent.


Goodell wrote a letter to the 32 teams and his staff Monday to announce the additional duties of Anna Isaacson in the league office to a new role of Vice President of Social Responsibility. He also retained the services of three senior advisers — Lisa Friel, Jane Randel and Rita Smith — to help with policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault. Friel is assisting in the review of Peterson’s case.


Those are positive steps, but to prove it it’s not only for show and an attempt to calm down the mob mentality trying to get him fired, Goodell has to act quickly and decisively no later than Wednesday to suspend Peterson for the rest of the season for violating the personal conduct policy.


In 2010, he suspended Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger six games — it was later reduced to four games — even though prosecutors decided not to charge him after a 20-year old college student accused him of sexual assault in a nightclub in Georgia.


If Goodell wants to go back to being the law and order commissioner, how can he let Peterson back on the field Sunday? Whatever Peterson’s definition of discipline might be growing up in Texas, it’s outdated, inhumane and barbaric. The Vikings said they felt on Friday it was best to take a step back and evaluate the situation. “To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child,” owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf, who are from New Jersey, said in a statement Monday. They have decided to allow the judicial process to play out. The NFL is a $10 billion business. Wins and losses decide careers. The Vikings have to sell seats for their $1 billion new stadium, which opens in 2016. They will host Super Bowl LII in 2018. It was obviously too much to expect the Vikes to punish themselves by continuing to sit their best player, the face of their franchise, but it’s not too much to ask Goodell to do it for them.


“I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son,” Peterson said.


He should have thought of that as he was hitting his kid. If Goodell does the right thing, Peterson will have a lot more time to think about it.






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