NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell attempted to suspend Adrian Peterson without pay for the final six games of the 2014 season. Goodell did this in a letter sent to Peterson on Nov. 18 in which the commissioner stated, “You have shown no meaningful remorse.’’
I went slightly nuts at the time in vilifying Goodell for making himself the judge as to whether Peterson’s apology before the Houston court was a proper display of remorse for the whipping of a 4-year-old son.
Peterson appealed Goodell’s decision and went back on the make-believe Commissioner’s Exempt List, where he was getting paid but was not allowed to play. On Dec. 12, arbitrator Harold Henderson upheld Goodell’s decision and Peterson missed his final three weekly paychecks of a 2014 season in which he had played only the season opener.
Again, I cried foul, as Henderson basically was a house man for the NFL and offered no objectivity as an arbitrator.
On March 1, Federal judge David Doty overruled Peterson’s suspension and ordered it back to Henderson for reconsideration. Doty’s decision remains under appeal by the NFL, even as Peterson was reinstated in mid-April.
Someday, if Doty is upheld, Peterson might get back a portion of the $2,073,529.50 in gross pay that he missed with those three late-season paychecks.
I’m guessing the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis will not take into evidence the current issue of ESPN the Magazine. If so, the judges involved in the appeal might have to go back to a key phrase in Goodell’s original decision and conclude the commissioner was right all along:
Adrian Peterson has shown no meaningful remorse in the whipping of a 4-year-old son.
It’s quite the opposite with him.
Peterson is willing to blame the media and other parties for his difficulties. He has done nothing wrong.
That is the only conclusion to be reached in reading Eli Saslow’s lengthy piece on Peterson in the NFL preview edition of ESPN the Magazine:
Those of us who defended Peterson’s right to play and saw his words before the Houston court as taking responsibility for a reprehensible act … we were wrong. After getting Saslow’s look behind the scenes at Peterson’s true response, it is clear that Adrian sees himself as being mistreated.
Saslow’s article has a large focus on the 30th birthday party Peterson threw for himself at his Houston home March 21. Forget the speculation that Peterson dropped a couple of million bucks on an Arabian-themed party for which he brought in 320 guests with first-class airfare and put them in first-class hotels in order to receive their adulation.
There was a passage early in Saslow’s piece that would make me want to use my No. 28 jersey as a cleaning rag if I were a hard-core Vikings fan:
“[Peterson] spends the bulk of his time with friends who believe he has done nothing wrong. He asks relatives not to talk about the allegation of child abuse, not the use that word — ‘abuse’ — in his presence …
“Inside his manufactured community, he remains the victim of a colossal misunderstanding, an icon with little to prove and nothing to redeem.’’
There was also this: “The people he trusts are those that enable him. The reality that matters is the one he creates and they help maintain.’’
The Vikings leapt back into the enabling category with both feet earlier this month. When “family day’’ was held at training camp, the Vikings publicized it on social media with a photo of Peterson kissing one of his sons.
Yeah, the poster guy for parenthood right there, with his offspring fathered with women hither and yon. One announcement at the March 21 birthday party was that Peterson’s wife, Ashley, was pregnant and expecting in October.
Mrs. Peterson said this would be Peterson’s sixth child, a number not including the 2-year-old son who was beaten to death by a former boyfriend to the mother in Sioux Falls, S.D., two years ago. There might be a couple of others missing from the six count, with Peterson never having confirmed the number of kids that he has fathered.
Peterson lost the good-guy persona with me when the boy was killed in Sioux Falls, and he willingly accepted the national expressions of sympathy rather than clarifying the situation immediately:
That he had never met the child until the boy was already in a coma in Sioux Falls, and that while he surely was saddened, all sympathy should be directed to the mother.
Still, I felt as if Goodell was overplaying his hand (what’s new) with his verdict on Peterson’s level of remorse for whipping the 4-year-old. Then, I read the current edition of ESPN the Magazine.
Adrian Peterson: Great football player, world-class narcissist.