Adrian Peterson and Roger Goodell are different ends of the same coin.
There have been multiple, nuanced stages to the Adrian Peterson saga.
When the allegations first emerged, I understood the need for Adrian Peterson to face charges because of his excessive corporal punishment, but bristled at the wholesale comparison of whipping children to domestic abuse.
I’m a testament to how arbitrary many of these studies are. There’s no one size fits all for raising a human being from scratch.
Since the initial charges were filed, Peterson has appeared apathetic at worse, oblivious at best to the severity of the crime he was charged with. Peterson has handled his legal matter with the same reckless running style that made him the running back most feared by would-be tacklers and coordinators alike.
Despite never denying his role in his son's injury and openly seeking to expedite his return to a terrible football team, Peterson pled not guilty in October.
His admission about smoking weed to his tester during a court-administered drug exam was just the latest sign of his inability to comprehend the deep water he was paddling through.
On Friday, Peterson put his reinstatement in jeopardy by skipping a hearing to review his case.
Roger Goodell is no better. His self-awareness is so low, he might as well be blind.
Any reasonable individual that's charted Goodell’s tenure as Commissioner understands that the Commissioner doesn’t condone domestic violence. The problem is that for a lawyer, his player conduct policy doesn’t possess any rigid guidelines. He just blindly swings his gavel wherever voices in the wind dictate. Sometimes, Goodell's gavel bounces off the block and boomerangs back into his grill.
Once again Goodell finds himself facing another crucible. This time, the complaint stems from Peterson, who had his felony child abuse charges pled down to misdemeanor reckless assault.
Three months ago, that would have been enough to get him back on the field immediately. However, misdemeanors in a court of law are magnified if the public relations department and the gallery in Goodell’s kangaroo court go with their gut to account for the legal system’s leniency.
On Tuesday, the league dropped the guillotine on Peterson by suspending him indefinitely and informed the All-Pro running back that he would not be eligible for reinstatement until April 15, 2015.
Goodell is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one side is a pitchfork carrying mob that wants his head. On the other is a union, potentially buoyed by a former United States District Court judge, presiding over a case that will consider whether the league overstepped its bounds by indefinitely suspending Ray Rice.
It’s hard to pick sides when one party is blind and the other’s tone deaf. They’re the 21st century incarnation of Gene Wilder’s deaf Wally Karew and Richard Pryor’s blind Dave Lyons.
Peterson was as stubbornly resolute in his innocence as Goodell is in his disciplinary actions.
Both have had their (common) senses clouded by brolic egos.
A Commissioner with senses intact would have partnered with the union to create a disciplinary committee or policy in stone that was above reproach.
Even with Rice’s appeal ongoing, Goodell is still making arbitrary judgments.
He’s even taken his Judge Joe Brown one step further by penning self-righteous letters to accompany his arbitrary sentences.
“The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision," Goodell preached in a portion of his 1,600 word explanation of the suspension. "Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement. You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy."
Whether or not you agree that Peterson’s paid-leave on the commissioner’s exemption list should count towards or his suspension or believe that it was team-imposed sanction, the indefinite aspect of the NFL's ruling is drawing collective ire.
Especially, when Goodell recently proposed a six-game suspension for incidents like the one regarding Peterson in response to the Rice crisis.
“I will not allow the NFL to impose a new process of discipline on me, ignore the [collective bargaining agreement], ignore the deal they agreed to with me, and behave without fairness or accountability, ” Peterson responded“You get the feeling over the last few months that the National Football League has simply been making it up as they go along,”
NFLPA Executive Director Demaurice Smith also weighed in and naturally, inveighed against the Commissioner’s abuse of power.
“The process that the NFL has employed since the beginning of the season has been arbitrary, inconsistent, uneven and inconsistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” Smith said. “You get the feeling over the last few months that the National Football League has simply been making it up as they go along. That’s something that is not in the best interests of the game, certainly not in the best interests of the players, and I know not in the best interests of our sponsors.”
It’s a sad irony that Peterson was elusive enough to escape charges of child abuse, but has now become the victim of inescapable abuse by the NFL’s Czar.
Tone deaf as he may seem, Peterson is facing the music for his transgressions. However, it’s time that Goodell open his eyes to the realization that his current method of doling out punishment like an abstract painter slinging paint colors on a canvas is feeding the growing the rift between himself and the players association.