Not to downplay the seriousness of the situation the Atlanta Hawks are facing, with both GM Danny Ferry and owner Bruce Levenson in hot water for racially charged, if not completely insensitive and racist, remarks. However, it would seem that they have managed to fly relatively below sonar as far as the bulk of mainstream media and public outrage is concerned. Why?
The National Football League.
The bulk of public outrage and media coverage has gone to the NFL. Monday through Thursday yielded nothing but Ray Rice domestic abuse headlines and sports personalities questioning whether NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should remain in charge of the league.
Friday brought with it another tragic story from the NFL, one of child abuse.
BREAKING: Adrian Peterson indicted on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. (via media reports) pic.twitter.com/LowDT9mlry
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 12, 2014
Vikings have deactivated Adrian Peterson Sunday.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) September 12, 2014
Minnesota Vikings All-Pro running back and 2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson has been indicted by a grand jury for using a switch (tree branch) to discipline his four-year-old son, resulting in cuts and lacerations on the child’s legs, as well as bruises on his lower back (pictures, taken five-to-seven days after the incident, from CBS Minnesota below).
The news, as would be expected, brought a myriad of tweets from NBA athletes.
I remember when my grandma used to make us go outside and pick our own “switch” to get a whooping with. — Trevor Booker (@35_Fitz) September 12, 2014
While seeming initially supportive, after gaining more information, Phoenix Suns forward Anthony Tolliver changed his tone regarding Peterson’s charges.
Switches &belts probably saved my life growing up. I didnt act up bcuz I didnt want a spanking! Time outs,n my opinion, r way less effective
— Anthony Tolliver (@ATolliver44) September 12, 2014
Definitely dont support that! Like I said spanking is one thing…that looks very excessive! Shoudve seen the pics before tweeting. ..my bad — Anthony Tolliver (@ATolliver44) September 12, 2014
The headlines need to say something else besides “Spanking”…led a lot of people (including myself) to believe it was a normal punishment — Anthony Tolliver (@ATolliver44) September 13, 2014
Smh this is crazy — Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) September 13, 2014
It’s really none of our business. Kermit was right. — trevorariza (@TrevorAriza) September 13, 2014
Milwaukee Bucks guard Kendall Marshall took a different tone, referencing Old Testament scripture, Proverbs 13:24, which reads, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
spare not thy rod. — Kendall Marshall (@KButter5) September 13, 2014
It’s clear to see that reactions vary. Some people, those who grew up being disciplined in such a manner, seem to be more lenient towards Peterson, while others are more appalled.
Peterson has already admitted to his wrongdoing in front of a grand jury, though he has maintained he only levied the same discipline upon his children that he received growing up in Texas.
Considering the NFL recently invoked a new ‘zero-tolerance’ domestic violence policy, in light of the Ray Rice situation, which primarily covers acts of violence upon women and result in penalties ranging from six-game to lifetime bans, it will be interesting to see how the commissioner decides to discipline Peterson.
It will also be interesting to see how things play out in court, as he seems both remorseful for his actions and genuine in his belief that his form of discipline, which is no more that what he experienced himself, is normal.
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