Minnesota Vikings Suspend Adrian Peterson Again After NFL Punts


Sep 7, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) looks on during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. The Vikings defeated the Rams 34-6. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

In the face of public outcry and the loss of corporate sponsorship, the Minnesota Vikings announced early this morning that they have suspended running back Adrian Peterson, again.    The Vikes’ waffling looks terrible, but it’s really understandable given that the NFL has left their teams to twist in the wind during recent scandals.  It’s time for The League to take on the onus for these huge decisions.

When Peterson was arrested and indicted for child abuse last week, the Vikings initially suspended him, and he missed a game, but the NFL took no action.   When Peterson made bail, he was back in Minnesota’s hands, and the team had an awful choice to make:

Should they keep their star in the fold and try to win games, or should they put him on the shelf to avoid backlash and eat his salary?

Armed with the innocent-until-guilty mantra and tacit approval from the NFL, the Vikes chose the former and reactivated Peterson.  GM Rick Spielman bumbled through his explanation of just WHY the team was reinstating Peterson, and he did it in front of a backdrop that prominently featured the logo of team sponsor Radisson.

That didn’t sit well with the hotel chain, and they promptly pulled their sponsorship of the Vikes, at least temporarily.

As the next knee-jerk domino to fall, then, the Vikings predictably made their announcement this morning that Peterson is back on the outs.

The NFL could make these situations cut-and-dried for their teams if the league office would institute a true zero-tolerance-for-indictment policy.  Simply put, if you’re indicted for anything, then you’re ineligible to play until your case is resolved, one way or another.   Sure, it’s Draconian, and there are other considerations to take into account — salary during the suspension, for example.

Another way the league might go would be to say that innocent-until-guilty rules the land, and no suspensions can be handed down until due process plays out.

The point here is that the NFL needs to take the play-or-not decision out of the hands of teams, whatever that structure may entail, when possible criminal activity is involved.

Leaving it up to the teams is a dangerous middle ground that gives clubs all kinds of chances to villainize themselves, as the Vikings have learned.

As a Cincinnati Bengals fan, I wonder what our team would have done in the same situation.    Personally, I would rather see the NFL decide for the Bengals than give Mike Brown and company a chance to jeopardize the good PR they’ve built up over the last few years.