Holler: Good can come from Peterson case

Some don’t want to forgive and forget with Adrian Peterson, but bringing him back into the spotlight might help end the cycle of corporal punishment.

We may find out Monday whether Adrian Peterson is allowed to return to the Vikings or be subject to potential punishment under the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

The NFL Players Association is demanding that Peterson be reinstated following the completion of his child abuse in Texas last week. It’s unclear whether the fact the Vikings were on their bye week had anything to do with the delay in taking Peterson off the Commissioner’s Exempt List.

Under the rules of the seldom-used list prior to Peterson and Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy almost simultaneously being placed on it, the purpose of putting a player on the list is to bar him from team facilities while his legal process is ongoing. Once the case is finalized, he is supposed to be taken off the list and decisions made from there.

That didn’t happen last week.

The NFLPA doesn’t want any more foot-dragging.

Over the weekend, Viking Update laid out the varied options that might be used in the Peterson matter. He could be suspended under the personal conduct policy and forced to sit until December. He could be reinstated today. There could be a hybrid decision made – putting him “in the system” deep in the personal conduct policy – given a four-to-six game suspension, but being give a “time served” credit for missing eight games on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. That way, it would be more palatable to critics who point to him being paid ($5.5 large) not to play. If that option is used, he would forfeit almost $3 million and the NFL could opt to donate that money, along with Peterson, to domestic violence and children’s charities.

There is a solution here. If Peterson plays Sunday and rips up the Bears – which is very fashionable these days – the wound may start to scab over. This isn’t a forgive-and-forget situation. One of the great qualities of America is giving someone a second chance and having the opportunity to atone for mistakes.

In the end, Peterson’s story got a national debate underway about the use of implements of injury (switches, belts, spanking sticks, wooden spoons, etc.) as a justifiable way of disciplining a disobedient child.

Everyone knows where the vocal opponents stand on the issue. They make it impossible to question their view when they shout it. Where the silver lining to this sad saga potentially lies is within those families where such forms of punishment remain. For the many, punishing a child with a switch is abhorrent. Then again, some of us were disciplined with a switch or a belt as children. Some of individuals vowed they would never do that to their own children and, family by family, the cycle was broken.

All the current talk about the Peterson situation is about an employer and its union – a 5 p.m. Eastern Time deadline today has been issued by the NFLPA for the league to make a decision or it will file a grievance in court to get an emergency decision. The pot has gone from bubble to boil quickly. It could become contentious.

It doesn’t have to be.

People forgive. Many of those same people never forget. Peterson is going to carry a scarlet letter on him in the minds of many as a child abuser. It will last the rest of his football career and perhaps the rest of his life. We’ll never know what a jury of his peers in Texas would have said. Would all 12 people be of one view that such a form of parental punishment was a felony? All that is now speculation.

There is a way for the NFL, the NFLPA, Peterson and the fans to come to middle ground without lawsuit lines being drawn in the sand. Peterson hasn’t spoken publicly about the situation. If he takes ownership of it and shows contrition, there will be a lot of parents that don’t cross the line between discipline and abuse and, family by family, change can be made.

The people screaming the loudest against the Vikings bringing back Peterson are doing so from their own moral compass. They’re not shy.

Suffice to say, Peterson doesn’t want to be “the face” of child abuse, but if the NFL plays it right, something very good could come out of something very bad.

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