I, too, am bothered by the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson stories. My wife and I completed 40 hours of training as volunteer speakers at the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo-Moorhead. Our eyes were opened to the pervasiveness and destructiveness of abuse in our society.
I am also bothered by what feels like excessive anger by some newspaper columnists, by readers who comment on articles, and by radio talk-show hosts and their callers. They come across as politically correct, self-righteous, harshly judgmental and self-promoting: The more I damn Rice and Peterson, the better person I am. Their rush to judge and to punish without due process, information or a sense of proportion scares me. I have thought, “This is what a lynch mob is like.” I’ve been guilty of these things, too.
Some feel upset that the Wilfs haven’t instantly punished Peterson as they’d like. People should quit looking to owners and executives to meet their need for retribution.
Instead, people who condemn Peterson and the Vikings management should live true to their own values and do what they can to model their convictions: Don’t go, watch or listen to Vikings games. Don’t buy team merchandise. Columnists might illuminate abuse and educate readers. Talk-show hosts could turn the spotlight on the emotional, physical and sexual abuse that surrounds us.
And speak up when you witness abuse in the family, neighborhood and workplace.
Tom Heuerman, Plymouth
• • •
I read every word printed in the Star Tribune on Sept. 16 about the Peterson situation. The one statement that best saw the proverbial forest through the trees was in this newspaper’s lead editorial: “The Vikings could have made an important statement about acceptable behavior.” They didn’t. Instead, the team is going to have Peterson play this coming Sunday. Because I’m almost addicted to following the Vikings and watching all the games, this next commitment is a very difficult one. Even so — I will not watch the game.
If enough people follow suit, advertisers will feel the effects, and therefore so will the league. Let’s hope money really does talk.
Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park
• • •
While I enjoy sports a great deal, I don’t think that sports are all-important.
And while I enjoy football especially, I do not think that it is the most important thing our society has to offer.
And while of all the sports and all the football I enjoy the NFL the most, and while the Vikings have been “my team” for as long as I can remember, I like to think that I am a reasonably balanced person and that I have things in an appropriate balance.
And while I am realistic and know that the number of people in the NFL will produce the same percentage of people with problems as all other population samples, and while I support the fact that the league has addiction programs, financial-training programs, a pension plan and so on … I believe that child abuse is a category where there needs to be a line in the sand.
The Vikings and the NFL have shamed themselves by not taking an ethical stance regarding the Vikings running back. (Tip your hat to Radisson, however!) I have decided that until the Vikings take a significantly different stance, I will not watch their games, wear shirts with their logo, or use the running back’s name in my speech or print.
I am not delusional enough to think that the Star Tribune, the Vikings, the NFL or ESPN care about me, but it’s what I can do.
The Rev. Leonard A. Halvorson, Spencer, Wis.
• • •
On a Sunday in December 2012, shortly before Adrian Peterson was named MVP by the NFL, he and some other Vikings were celebrating a win by dining at a restaurant called Pittsburgh Blue in the Galleria on France Avenue in Edina. After Peterson had finished his meal, the restaurant manager approached him and asked him if he would be willing to visit the kitchen and pose for a picture with the cooks and kitchen staff. Without hesitation, he said yes.
My husband, Gonzalo Saldivar, was one of the cooks that day. He said that he and all of his co-workers shouted and clapped with surprise — they were thrilled to see Peterson, but the best part was that Peterson was thrilled to see them, too. He spent at least 10 minutes talking and laughing with them, and he was sweet, humble, gracious and genuine. My husband had worn his official Vikings No. 28 jersey to work that day, and Peterson was happy to sign his name and the message “God Bless” on it. Then they all smiled beautifully as they posed for a picture. It’s a photograph we display proudly in our home.
It makes us sad to hear about the alleged abuse, and even sadder when we witness people condemning Mr. Peterson for a mistake that we know millions of parents have made. Football is a violent sport, and somehow the line between being an aggressive, superstar athlete and being a loving but tough dad must have blurred momentarily. The images of a whip marks on an innocent little boy are hard to look at, but we know that from that pain, Peterson and millions of other troubled parents will confront the agonizing issue of child abuse and become better parents for it.
He may have been born in Texas, but Adrian Peterson will forever be in the hearts of millions here in Minnesota. He will always be our native son.
Susan Saldivar, Rosemount
War is costly. Someone should pay, you know?
A Sept. 15 letter writer supports the president’s approach for dealing with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, but, as he correctly pointed out, the president did not ask us to pay for the war. The letter writer then proposed a solution, in keeping with current American politics, whereby someone other than he would pay for the war.
Jack Kohler, Plymouth
Straighten up and fly right (and live to tell)
My mother taught me to stand up straight and walk with my shoulders back. Today I see people of all ages hunched over, walking while operating their smartphones. Some of them are hit by cars, trucks, buses, or light-rail trains. This is unfortunate, but to be expected. Darwin at work, as I like to say.
The problem of texting while driving is much worse. Darwin is working there, too, but there are many more innocent victims. It is possible to operate a smartphone while walking with a good posture. Smartphone users should straighten up and die right.
Jeffrey Loesch, Minneapolis