My grandfather was a Minnesota Vikings fan. I wasn’t much of a football fan growing up, but as an adult, I have become an enormous fan. I can now see what Grandpa Wes enjoyed every Sunday.
I started playing Fantasy Football in 2004, and was a man without a team. Fantasy Football taught me quite a bit about the game, but I was always more concerned with individual performance than I was with which team would make the playoffs. I didn’t know the heartbreak of a close playoff loss or the glory of lifting the Lombardi trophy, because I just wanted to watch great football.
I knew I didn’t like the Packers or the Cowboys, and that was about it. In 2007, a young man from Texas was the new hope for Grandpa’s old team. He played right away for the team in his rookie year and immediately made a huge impact. He ran like no one else. He was other worldly. His physical gifts were immeasurable. He was humble and pious on and off the field. He carried this terrible franchise on his back season after season, and actually made them somewhat to very watchable. He turned me into a fan. The Minnesota Vikings are now my team.
Today has been shockingly hard for me.
I feel terrible about what has transpired. Child abuse is awful, and there is no way around it. I don’t have kids, but I can’t imagine striking a child. I can’t imagine it gets the results, short or long term, that an adult would desire. I thankfully do not come from a family that engaged in corporal punishment. I weep for a little boy or girl getting beaten. I was raised to find a better way to deal with conflict.
I am also disgusted by Adrian Peterson’s flippant attitude about “whooping” his children. Again, I don’t come from it, so I do not understand it. The facts thus far are revolting to me. His claims of being raised that same way and that it is done to make a lasting memory and impression just doesn’t hold any truth for me.
I don’t know that I will ever reconcile these feelings. Adrian Peterson is a once in a lifetime athlete. Watching him play the game of football has been a great pleasure. Watching him elevate the play of those around him has been inspiring. An entire city, state and region of America has rallied behind him. His behavior off the field is somewhere between very wrong and beyond the pale, and I cannot get past it. This incident will follow Adrian Peterson for the rest of his career and the rest of his life.
More than anything, I am sad. I am sad for Adrian Peterson. I am sad for his family. I am sad for the Minnesota Vikings and their fans, who will likely have to say goodbye to this very talented player because of his outdated and steadfast belief in an antiquated form of discipline.
More than anything, I am sad.
Sad. Sad. Sad.