The moral dilemma of the committed sports fan

Days ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell allowed for the reinstatement of Adrian Peterson.  Ironically, only a day before, I wrote about the NFL star that fell from grace.  He was suspended last season for beating his four-year old child with a switch.

Vikes ADIt’s no secret that Peterson’s soon-to-be former team, the Minnesota Vikings, no longer want him wearing their uniform.   But other teams do.  One of those teams happens to be the team I root for, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Now during this entire incident, I never called Peterson out.  I’m no parent nor do I pretend to tell anyone how to raise their kids.  Did I find Peterson’s actions despicable?  Absolutely.  Did I find his punishment just?  You betcha.  But he’s not raising my children.  He’s running my football and he’s not the first professional football player to jeopardize his career with idiotic or inhumane behavior.  So would I mind Peterson being on my team, helping them win ballgames?  I’d have to say… no.

Therein lies the dilemma.  Some NFL team is going to give Peterson a second chance so why not have that team be mine?

For years he was considered the best running back in the league.  So why shouldn’t Tampa enter the Adrian Peterson sweepstakes for what will probably amount to pennies on the dollar? After all, this is a business.

All DayIn seven years with the Minnesota Vikings (we won’t count last year since he only played one game), he rushed for over 10,000 yards including two years where he led the league: 1,760 yards in 2008 and 2,097 yards in 2012.

Do you know the last time a Tampa Bay Buccaneer has rushed for 1760 yards in a single season?  How about never!

So if you’re the Bucs GM and your running back situation is as tenuous as your quarterback situation, how badly do you pursue Peterson?  Do you decline due to his recent past or wouldn’t you have to seriously consider signing?  Are you prepared for the reputation hit?  As it is, your reputation already suffers for being a poorly run organization.  How can things get any worse?  At least now it looks like you’re trying.  Do you bring Peterson in for an interview to see if he’s a changed man and ensure that the guy who beat the crap out of his kid is a thing of the past?  Or do you not even bother?

AD CourtThis is the NFL and the Buccaneers have been irrelevant for quite some time.  Now you have the potential to bring in the best back the franchise has ever had.  Signing Peterson would boost ticket sales not to mention make an immediate contender out of your team.  Is it wrong to bring someone in that would sell tickets?  On the flipside, is it wrong that so many of us would buy those tickets?  Therein lies our moral dilemma.  Damn this thing called a conscience.

Despite his heinous behavior, if you asked me if I want Adrian Peterson on this team next year, I’d respond with a resounding Hell to the Yea!  It’s either that or sit through another unwatchable season.

How many teams needing a solid ground presence back wouldn’t consider signing Peterson?  You’d be kidding yourself if you didn’t say every single one of them.

We’d have to believe (or at least hope) that a contrite Peterson has paid his dues and learned his lesson.  Despite his questionable child-rearing skills, this is a man that can instantly make your team a contender all by himself.  This move has the opportunity to grant both one good player and one lousy team a shot at redemption.

It’s about time they both consider taking it.

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27 Replies to “The moral dilemma of the committed sports fan”

  1. Chris

    Roger Goodell has made more gaffes during his tenure, than the likes of Bill O’Reilly (war zone gaffe sexual deviance and stalking of a female intern) , Rush Limbaugh (Oxycontin addict) , Mitt Romney ( alleged business acumen but being unable to speak eloquently on the economy) , Glenn Beck( continually being an @sshole) and the entire legislative chamber of Congress,. Yet the apathy of the team owners seem unbound as they continue to support this oaf (Goodell) ! All the commissioner can realistically point to in terms of success, has been the ever increasing revenues of the league and not much else beyond that .

  2. Chump, you know I love you like a brother, but in this case, your premise is flawed. There is no dilemma; only a simple and clear choice: You either care about the exploits of players off the field or you don’t. There is no in between.

    Now, there are soft-heads out there who will try to argue otherwise, but they are full of shit. Take your example in Adrian Peterson. Viking fans don’t give a shit that he beats his kid, they care that his getting caught took him off the field and will likely spell the end of his time in Minnesota.

    I understand that. I really don’t care if a player is a child-beater, a drug addict, or (insert bad thing here). What I care about is how likely is he to get himself jammed up and yanked off the field.

    Now, there are the self-appointed moralizers like that shithead Tophatal who will try to argue differently, but those are the hypocritical assholes who love to act tough over the stuff they know about. If they really cared about the character of athletes, they would demand investigating all athletes and banning those who don’t meet their standards of decency.

    But they don’t, because once that happened, they would have no reason to inflict upon us their pompous windbaggery.

    The point is everybody has a dark side. If we kicked out every person in sports with skeletons in their closet, we wouldn’t have sports. Same applies to car salesmen, truck drivers…and everybody else.

  3. Well, gee, Michael Vick saw hard time for his dog fighting ring and I never thought an NFL team would take a chance on him. The NFL also overturned the indefinite ban on Ray Rice for punching the headlights out of his then fiancé in an elevator. No team has thus far shown an interest in potentially alienating a portion of its fan base by signing him to a contract.

    My parents’ choice of punishment for me was a leather belt. By today’s standards, that would constitute abuse, although it didn’t leave bruises or break the skin. It’s my understanding that Peterson’s beating left both bruising as well as cuts, notably on the kids’ scrotum. In my eyes that abuse in any era. I’m all for giving second chances, but Peterson apparently has shown little remorse for his actions, texting, “Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has the biggie heart but don’t play no games when it comes to acting right.”

    A day after he was reinstated, it was all about him: “I was pleased to learn about Judge Doty’s decision. It is a positive step in protecting players’ rights and preserving due process for all players,” Peterson wrote in a press release. What about preserving the rights of a child and protecting him against abuse? Peterson further wrote, “It also brings me one step closer to getting back on the football field and playing the sport I love.”

    Sorry, he hasn’t shown regret or remorse. He shouldn’t be allowed to play football again, and you, Chump, are indeed a chump, and you should be ashamed for putting football and your Buccaneers ahead of the welfare of the child.

  4. Chris

    Character issues asides , if you have guys such as Peterson who know they’re in public eye and then try create this facade that they’ve the best intent in trying have kids seem in a positive light when their beset by idiotic and reprehensible actions , these are the very dumb @ss athletes who look to apportion blame elsewhere as they often do , because their too #ucking gutless . Apathy falls into place here with a number of fools, who would rather let things be . All part and parcel of what makes the world around and the lack of real dialogue and advancement of so many issues .

    Josh Hamilton (sobriety again ) , Johnny Manziel (rehab) , over-hyped and the IQ collectively of a gnat .

    I’ve no interest in ##ssies athletes , offer nothing but grief for their families, when they’ve been blessed with a God given talent , but then decide to pi#s it all away through stupidity .


    Tophatal ………..

  5. Other than the recent successes for the Cards based primarily on Kurt Warner and an above average defense, I would put the Cards on par with the Bucs. Both teams have a desperate need for a run game. But is the solution an Adrian Peterson? I think not.
    Like the Cards the Bucs have an offensive line that can’t open a hole any wider than my wrist. Unless Peterson, Murray or any other RB can run through walls then signing him with the notion that he could “make an immediate contender out of your team” is a folly. Getting him, even on the cheap, would take away valuable monetary resources that should be spent on an offensive line. Cowboys ring a bell? Why do you think they’re letting the NFL’s leading rusher walk?
    So I guess in answer to your question, if I were a Bucs fan….I would not sign Peterson.

  6. J. Conrad G., first of all, thank you.

    That is EXACTLY the kind of response I was hoping and looking for.

    Here’s the thing. I think you’re going to be in the minority.

    That’s not to justify our overall neanderthal decision-making process as a society, but if you ask most Buccaneers fans, they’d probably rather have him than not, as would the majority of most fan bases. What’s a minor discrepancy when compared to numbers in the wins column, right?

    That being said, let’s keep him on a tight leash. Let’s send this guy to therapy. Let’s teach him that how he’s raising his child, at least in that particular instance, is inappropriate at best.

    Years ago, Conrad, when Vick was going through his legal troubles, I was seeing a girl that was a big PETA supporter. Still is.

    I told her that it was only a matter of time before he was back in the league. She disagreed with me but as it turns out, she was wrong. (A woman wrong? Never!)

    Despite his behavior, Vick has a particular skill set (or at least he did when he was good) that made him a valuable commodity. Philly suffered minimal backlash. There were protests for a while but they didn’t last.

    There’ll be less for Adrian Peterson particularly if he, as you suggest, starts to show remorse.

    Ray Rice is an entirely different story.

  7. Mark…

    Two things. Look at that division.

    Carolina won it by default last year at 7-8-1.

    Heck, the Buccaneers had two wins on the season and were in contention until Week 11.

    Call me kooky but I think adding Peterson to this roster is worth four wins.

    In a shitstorm of a division, with a new quarterback and a few other key pieces, this becomes a team nobody wants to play, which is more than can be said for them over the past five years.

  8. I don’t want Peterson on the Bucs for the same reason I don’t want Winston.

  9. That was really the intent of this piece, Coach. To generate discussion and to see how many people would take AD and how many would take the theoretical high road.

    Voting’s still early but it’s surprisingly even. I thought the animals within would have voted AD for sure. Nice to see some of us still have a conscious… all the while rooting for a loser.

    Right, Dub?

  10. Dad spanked me with his belt. My mom whipped me with Hot Wheels tracks. Both hurt like a motherfucker, but both kept me from repeating whatever it was that got me there in the first place….Usually.

    Nowadays, that’s child abuse. Then, it was discipline.

    Ever hear of “The rule of thumb”?
    That saying comes from parents having their kids go pick out a switch that’s about as thick of a thumb for a whipping. This type of punishment has been going on since forever.

    AP is now the poster child for child abuse and some make the moral judgement that he should be denied reinstatement to the NFL for it. I am not one of those voices. Yes, he went overboard, but having been through what his kid went through and still loving my mother and father dearly, despite them dishing out the same type of punishment AP did, I highly doubt he’ll repeat the action.

    In this era of Twitter, social media and memes, he’ll never be allowed to forget it.

    Maybe, just maybe, he’ll turn himself around like Vick, Ron Artest, Ray Lewis and the like.

  11. LMAO @ Dub

    I’d love to see AP take a switch to the pompus windbag who neglected to mention any gaffes of the dipshits on the other side of the aisle.

    The parties are equally flawed and corrupt…Or have you not noticed that being a Democrat in the Age of Obama requires you to believe that cops kill black kids on purpose but radical Islamists kill Jews by accident.

  12. Who knew this was gonna get all political and stuff, huh, Bleed?

    And oh, yes, Dub is officially the unofficial president of the Top Hat fan club.

    Shall I expect more fireworks?

    in 3… 2… 1…

  13. I know I’m in the minority, Chris, and I’m okay with that. I’ve never been one to go along with the vast immoral majority. What’s wrong is wrong and what’s right is right. Peterson was wrong, has yet to acknowledge he was wrong, and now, even if he releases another press release stating that he was wrong, I will suspect his motives.

    Charles Barkley has gone on record siding with Peterson, citing that, in the south where he and Peterson both grew up, such “discipline” is common. I guess, in Barley’s eyes, that makes it okay.

    I still don’t understand why it took the Ray Rice video to go viral before Goodell took the “allegations” seriously. If you haven’t seen the photos of Peterson’s boy’s injuries, Google them. What kind of man does that to a four-year-old?

    However, as you pointed out, the NFL is a business, a billion dollar business, and if someone thinks Peterson will draw fans to the stadium, they’ll certainly sign him, as they will Ray Rice.

  14. First off, I will answer your question. No. I would not sign AP. The position has been devalued, it is a passing league, blah blah blah. If this was the 80’s or even the 90’s I would say yes. But unless you have a very good qb to back those defensive guys off, most defenses can at least check a back. I hate to say it but it is a passing league. You cannot depend on a running back to keep you in games unless you have that qb. Which, unfortunately(Saints fan here so NOT REALLY sad about it), you don’t have that qb. None of the rookie qbs scare me at all. Kinda sucks that your team has the first overall pick and no franchise qb in the draft. As a Saints fan that thrills me to no end, but as a football fan I want all teams to be good so it will be good games to watch. I don’t want to watch another season like last season. Seemed like a bad coma dream. LOL. In regard to the off the field stuff, I could quote several idioms. Glass houses and stuff. We are all human and we are not perfect. Like was stated earlier, if you took all the bad decision Rob Low characters out of football the quality of the game would suffer. You have to have a mean streak to play a lot of the positions. And since the political hammer was dropped, I will drop the religious one. Spare the rod and spoil the child. Abuse is one thing but you can’t whip your child when they need it. And let us face the truth. Children need discipline. And if you think about it, most children act differently now that there is no threat of whippings. Time outs are a joke. I have talked to youngsters and they told me there is no fear from their parents so they don’t care.

  15. Sign him, put him on a probationary period, and require that he attend parenting classes for the duration of the probation. Failure to do so results in immediate termination.

    We in the NASCAR world are having to deal with a similar problem concerning driver Kurt Busch. His EX-girlfriend entered his motor home uninvited and was upset when he escorted her out. Several weeks later she files for a restraining order stating that he slammed her head against the wall. The restraining order was granted, and now, NASCAR has indefinitely suspended Kurt even though he has not even been CHARGED with a crime. Most in NASCAR circles will tell you that Kurt’s ex is bat-s&*$ crazy(she has videos posted and there’s an e-mail she sent to Tony Stewart following his accident last year; my response was she thinks she’s Olivia Pope), and this just an attempt to get back at him for a failed relationship. NASCAR has issued guidelines for Kurt’s “Path to Reinstatement”, and Kurt has agreed to follow those guidelines(the legal scholar in me hopes that his lawyers insisted on language that prohibits a prosecutor from using the contract as an admission of guilt).

  16. JackT: I agree with your spoil the rod adage. An orphaned lion cub grows up aggressive, unruly. But there’s a difference between discipline and abuse. Every once in a while you read about some kid who was abused as a toddler killing his old man when he becomes a teen and he’s tired of being knocked around. What goes around often comes around.

    What Peterson inflicted on his boy was not discipline, it was abuse. Check out the photos of the boy online. He was four years old. What could he possibly have done wrong to warrant cuts and bruises on his legs, back, and scrotum?

  17. Conrad…

    I’m actually surprised the numbers are as close as they are. I fully expected them to be gung ho for the signing of Peterson. I guess we have more morals than I thought.

    Or perhaps we’re far enough removed from football season that we’ve forgotten how bad the Buccaneers actually are.

  18. Jack T…

    I’m sensing a waffle on this one. How did you vote in the poll? Should I have included a time travel section where you choose to sign Peterson in an era where the running game is more valuable?

    Here’s the thing. The Bucs have neither a quarterback NOR a running back. Unless the muscle hamster can prove he can recreate his rookie season, our options are limited. I do think a top notch running back (and there’s no telling whether Peterson is that still) can open things up even with a shoddy offensive line. But it’s a start.

    After all, we’re not going to put our entire offensive hopes on a rookie quarterback, are we?

  19. I like Beagle’s reasoning.

    Sign the guy, with conditions. If our biggest beef (other than him doing it in the first place) is that he has showed no remorse, sign the guy and help him recreate his image. It’s not like athletes haven’t done that in the past.

    (Oh, and readers, sorry about Beag’s NASCAR rant. She has a tendency to do that every once in a while, he he)

  20. Conrad…

    If you believe in karma, then Adrian Peterson will get his.

    If you believe in second chances, then perhaps Peterson should get his too, as long as he realizes what he’s done and comes to terms with it.

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