DUBIOUS DISTINCTIONS

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What to think

            It was hard to know what to think about Adrian Peterson being deactivated by the Vikings for Sunday’s game after he was accused of punishing his child too harshly.

            The news followed the league suspension of Ray Rice of the Ravens for knocking out his fiancée.

            Maybe the struggle with understanding the Peterson matter was clouded by a comparison of knocking out a future wife to beating a boy with a switch.  The two are hardly equal as crimes.

            Peterson’s case is further clouded by the very positive image he has developed as a football star and as an extremely pleasant personality off the field.

            But there is something very disturbing about the image of whipping a boy with a thin tree branch and leaving marks on his legs.

            Previously, we saw Peterson’s fierceness only on the football field.  It was shocking to hear he was accused of unleashing that fierceness on his little boy.

            The immediate response in your reporter’s mind was, “Say it ain’t so.”

            Reports indicate the child needed to be disciplined, and perhaps most parents have spanked a child a time or two.  But to whip a boy with a switch seems old-fashioned at best, and, at worst, a little sick, as one network commentator put it.

            Media reports indicate that Peterson was raised that way, and harsh punishments may have helped make him an outstanding pro sports performer.

            If that’s what it takes to be the best, we as a society need to take a hard look at it.  There’s a point at which harsh treatment to produce results goes too far.

            Meanwhile, the hope here is that the Vikings and the league can find wisdom when comparing cases like the Rice and Peterson matters.  If Peterson truly is guilty of punishing his child too harshly, some kind of consequence is needed.

            But hopefully, the league won’t come down on Peterson as harshly as it did on Rice.

 

Thanks for the tip

            Thanks, Colene McClard, for a tip about your daughter, Mary, and her work training an abused pony to trust people.  See how she is doing by reading this week’s feature story.