Adrian Peterson, a running back for the Minnesota Vikings has been inactive and suspended for much of the season after reports surfaced that he ‘switched’ his child too the point of welts, open wounds and bruises. Adrian lives in Texas where such discipline is legal as long as the child is not in danger. That being said, a grand jury indicted him on felony child abuse charges.
Today Peterson pleaded no-contest to misdemeanor charges which will let him off with no jail time and a minimal fine. This result, while not surprising, is sure to upset a number of fans and child advocates.
My take- Adrian Peterson was disciplining his child in a way and manner consistent with a parent’s right. That said, the parenting technique of switching or even spanking, is an old one with significant studies showing that such techniques are counter productive. Peterson was raised in an environment where such disciplining techniques were, and remain, common.
Adrian Peterson is guilty of ignorance, not child abuse.
Now, what do the Vikings do? My hope is that they partner with Peterson and local and national child advocate s and launch a parenting awareness campaign. If they can use AP’s profile in the hopes of educating people on the proper use of discipline, the conditions surrounding the unfortunate events can be transformed into a positive.