The newest addition to our list of things we never thought we’d think: Hey, Adrian Peterson — we liked you better when you were wearing a turban and riding a camel.
Peterson, long known for running angry, tweeted angrily on Thursday afternoon.
He complained about one-sided contracts, unguaranteed money, the power NFL teams hold over players’ careers and the plight of his NFL brethren.
It was like hearing Derek Jeter whining about finding a date or Latrell Sprewell expounding on the importance of money management. Even if the message is apt, the messenger is not credible.
Peterson’s Twitter rant was wrong even when he was theoretically right.
Yes, NFL contracts can be one-sided, meaning teams can sometimes cut a player and get out of paying him unguaranteed money.
But Peterson’s isn’t one-sided. He has been paid every dollar promised him. Last year, when he beat a child and was suspended for 15 games, he was paid for not playing, a seeming injustice the Vikings never complained about.
Even as Peterson has become an organizational headache, the Vikings have promised to fulfill their obligation by paying him in full this season.
There are players who have been harmed by this system. Peterson is not one of them.
There are two categories of NFL players who have legitimate and even sympathetic complaints over the way they have been treated: those who suffered concussions while the NFL tried to hide or ignore the effects of concussions, and those who made the league the success it is today and were left in physical ruin, again ignored by the league.
The modern NFL player deserves a better deal than unguaranteed contracts and limited post-career medical support, but the modern NFL player has had every opportunity to negotiate a better deal.
The NFL Players Association keeps complaining about its own failed collective bargaining, whether it’s allowing Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear his own appeals or the nature of today’s contracts.
If Peterson had a less selfish world view, he would be advocating on behalf of lesser players, whose NFL career might end at the age of 25 with little savings and few real-world job skills.
That’s not what he’s doing. He’s complaining about the Vikings holding him to the terms of the lucrative contract that Peterson happily signed.
Which is where Peterson’s illogic bites him again.
Peterson would like the Vikings to release him so he can sign with another team.
The Vikings are scheduled to pay him a base salary of $12.75 million this season, plus bonuses.
It’s doubtful that any other team would be willing to pay a 30-year-old running back that right now, not after signing their draft picks and dealing with salary cap limits.
If the Vikings were “kind” enough to release Peterson, he would probably find himself with a pay cut and carrying the ball for a less-talented offense.
What makes Peterson’s rant galling as well as illogical are the events that led to his discontent.
He severely beat a child with a stick. He then blamed the Vikings and apparently the entire state of Minnesota for reacting poorly to the news that he had severely beaten a child with a stick.
The former was an act of evil. The latter was a manifestation of stupidity.
Given the shelf-life of the average outrageous story in today’s America, all Peterson had to do was pretend to be contrite, hold one apologetic news conference, and make a donation to an organization that helps abused children, and most of those offended by him would have eventually moved on.
Peterson’s self-righteous, self-pitying blatherings have kept the story alive and revealed his martyr complex.
If I believed in corporal punishment, I’d say someone three times Peterson’s size should hold him down and beat him bloody with a stick.
But I don’t.
So Peterson’s punishment for beating a child will be playing at least one more season for the Vikings while being paid his full, $12.75 million salary.
Martyrs ain’t what they used to be.