The NFL is allowing Adrian Peterson to play with the Vikings, deferring any decision until he is found either innocent or guilty. Given that the foundation of our justice system is “innocent until proven guilty,” it is a fair decision. The photographic evidence seems overwhelming, but the matter has yet to be decided by the court.
If he is found guilty of child abuse, what happens then? Where is the line? How much violence is too much for professional sports? Will they set different guidelines for spousal, child and general violence and abuse? And who will decide, owners, the union, the players or the Commissioner? And how will they decide?
Lots of questions, but the most glaring is “Where’s the line?” – loss of consciousness, more than two bruises and/or cuts, coma, death…?
I stopped watching football when Michael Vick was hired by the Eagles. I never watched that much anyway, but the thought of my home team letting a dog murderer and abuser play was too much for me. I love people and animals and the thought of someone doing what Vick did makes me physically ill. I don’t care if he “served his time and paid his debt,” he was and is a monster. That kind of abusive behavior doesn’t change.
I believe it’s the same with men who hit women like Ray Rice and the many other professional athletes who have committed acts of violence against women and/or children. Like a sexual predator or stalker, they will never change. So is that the line, behavior that has been proven to never change? What if someone robs a bank or kidnaps someone?
Is any felony reason enough to eliminate a player from professional sports? I think so. Someone convicted of a felony is a lousy role model for our children. And, despite what Charles Barkley said many years ago, pro athletes are role models for kids. If you doubt it, take a look at the sale of name jerseys in all sports. Children want to emulate the players they see on the field.
Play professional sports and have a felony conviction? Good luck selling cars or asking “do you want fries with that?” because those should be your only career choices after you’re convicted of a felony. That policy would solve most of the public image problems with violent offenders. Of course there are abused women who will refuse to press charges. In those cases, if the evidence is overwhelming, the player should be permanently suspended. And they need to get help for the woman.
The whole thing is one huge shit storm. Of course, there’s always firing all current players and recruiting an entirely new field of athletes. Yeah, that’s going to happen.
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