Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman held a press conference today to announce the team’s decision to reactivate child abuser Adrian Peterson. Spielman stressed that the team did not condone child abuse, and that Peterson — who was arrested Friday for child abuse — should be allowed due process under the law.
But he also said: “We feel strongly as an organization that this [was] disciplining a child.”
Spielman’s couldn’t-care-less attitude angered one reporter who asked, “What part of those photos don’t tell you it’s abuse.”
The press conference was a PR disaster for the Vikings. Outraged Twitter users sent Spielman trending on the social media platform today.
Prior to the press conference, Peterson released a statement saying he was not a child abuser and he was “sorry” for the hurt he caused his son.
He reiterated that he was “disciplining his son” the way he was disciplined as a child. He also said he spoke with a child psychologist who told him there are alternative ways to discipline his 4-year-old son that may be more appropriate than beating him bloody.
I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen. I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.
The legacy of slavery is evident in Peterson’s statement as he credited child abuse with keeping him off the streets.
I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward. But deep in my heart I have always believed I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets without the discipline instilled in me by my parents and other relatives. I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man. I love my son and I will continue to become a better parent and learn from any mistakes I ever make.
But one writer for The Grio.com wrote: “As a black father with a four-year old son, I cannot imagine ever beating my beautiful child. I cannot and will not treat my son like a slave.”
“We all cringe with horror, perhaps even cry, when we view depictions of brutality in films such as 12 Years a Slave. It feels far too familiar, too close to home. If we recoil at the sight of slaves being beaten, then why would we subject our own children to the same treatment?”
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