Is Peterson Exemption Right Thing Or Riding Public Opinion?

Early Wednesday morning, the Minnesota Vikings' owners reversed the team's decision to allow Adrian Peterson to play in upcoming games.

Is Peterson Exemption Right Thing Or Riding Public Opinion?
Getty Images / Dilip Vishwanat

Most Minnesota Vikings fans went to bed Tuesday thinking running back Adrian Peterson was a go to play this Sunday after sitting out Week 2. After all, this is what they heard just a day earlier.

RICK SPIELMAN, MINNESOTA VIKINGS GENERAL MANAGER ON WCCO: "We believe he deserves to play while the legal process plays out."

Maybe he should've added, "Unless we change our minds."

WCCO ANNOUNCER: "Now, this is breaking news."

JASON DERUSHA, WCCO ANCHOR: "At 1 this morning, the team released a statement from owners Zygi and Mark Wilf saying they are banning him from all team activities."

The Vikings now say they'll place Peterson on the NFL's Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, "allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved."

Peterson had turned himself in to police in Texas over the weekend after a grand jury returned a charge of negligent injury to a child for the running back allegedly using a "switch," or tree branch, on his 4-year-old son. (Video via KHOU)

But when Vikings GM Rick Spielman made that statement saying the team would allow Peterson to return this coming week, the public outcry was — from a PR standpoint — deafening. Another child abuse allegation surfaced, Radisson Hotels and other team and Peterson sponsors pulled their support, and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton even joined the call to sit Peterson indefinitely.

It begs the question, are the Vikings — and the rest of the NFL, for that matter — making these moves on star players because they truly feel it's the right thing to do or because they're riding public opinion? The organizations have been anything but consistent lately.

Take, for instance, the Vikings' statement Wednesday.


"We have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right."


But that oddly timed statement was released around 1 a.m. And way off to the side, the reminder a new football stadium opens in 2016 — more than half a billion dollars in funding coming from that presumably angry taxpayer fanbase. (Video via KSTP)

Similarly, the NFL originally suspended Baltimore Ravens' running back Ray Rice just two games per its domestic violence policy for an incident when he pulled his unconscious wife from an Atlantic City hotel elevator in February. When TMZ released video of the punch Rice threw, the Ravens cut Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

And then there's Carolina Panthers' defensive lineman Greg Hardy who played in Week 1 despite a bench trial conviction of beating his girlfriend in the offseason. The team has since deactivated him amid the coverage of Rice and Peterson's cases. (Video via WJZY)

As for Peterson, he tweeted an inspirational quote after the Vikings' decision to place him on the exempt list. One of the last lines reads, "Don't allow any Distractions to knock you off Course!"

This video includes images from Getty Images.