Of all the responses to the news that Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson (6-foot-1, 217 pounds) hit his little 4-year-old son with a wooden switch/branch, raising welts on his inner thighs, breaking the skin, and even hitting his genitals, the most powerful so far has been that of former Minnesota Vikings Cris Carter, football Hall of Famer, who is now an analyst on televised sports shows.
Here’s the video of what he said on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown”.
Here’s some paraphrased text of his passionate words:
“This goes across all racial lines, ethnicity… People believe in disciplining their children. People with any kind of Christian background, they really believe in disciplining their children. My mom did the best that she could do with seven kids … But there are thousands of things that I have learned since then that my mom was wrong. This is the 21st century; my mom was wrong… And I promise my kids I won’t teach that mess to them. You can’t beat a kid to make them do what you want them to do. The only thing I’m proud about, is the team that I played for, they did the right thing [in suspending Peterson].”
Unfortunately, after Carter’s statement, Adrian Peterson was reinstated by the Minnesota Vikings and would have played this coming weekend – except that today, the news is that citizen activists have taken their protests to the entities that apparently matter: the advertisers. As of today, Peterson has been advised not to even approach the Vikings playing field.
As to NBA player Charles Barkley’s allegation that “all” black parents inflict corporal punishment on their children – disproved, obviously, by Cris Carter’s emotion-filled video – Slate repeats what most of us are thinking: “everybody’s doing it” doesn’t make it right and healthy.
“Normal” just depends on what the group is doing. (In concentration camps, “normal” was seeing people go up in smoke.) That’s a terrible standard. What we seem to be turning to, where I hope we’re going, especially in the discussion of violence against children, is a higher standard: