As a Minnesota Vikings fan (unless they're playing the Philadelphia Eagles), it's easy to be conflicted about Adrian ("is he a child abuser?") Peterson. We all want him back playing on the football field, but that would mean either ignoring the photos of the welts on the legs of his 4-year-old kid or saying that it's the result of normal discipline that went too far.
For somebody of my generation, it's a little harder to know where that line is. A lot of us, back in the '40s and '50s, were used to corporal punishment. My dad certainly used a tree switch to whip me more than once. Sometimes it was a belt or a yardstick. Jerry still has a scar on his leg from being whipped as a kid. And we now would both say that we had wonderful dads who were not child abusers.
But this is 2014, and the word should have somehow gotten to Adrian Peterson that times have changed. If kids get whipped now, they call the cops, and child abusers go to jail, but, again, where is that line? My dad wasn't a child abuser. Jerry's dad wasn't a child abuser. Sometimes they would say, "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you!" It all depends on what was going on in Adrian's mind when he inflicted those lashes. If it was rage, then he is a child abuser. If, in his head, it was reasonable discipline gone haywire, then he is mostly ignorant.
So he is scheduled to be back on the playing field Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, who are known for their brutality. He can be brutal right back. At least he will be picking on somebody his own size.
Added the next morning: Never mind. The Vikings announced this morning that they've changed their minds and that Adrian has been de-activated again until the court thing is resolved.