NFL: National Felons League

One of several potential new NFL logos found at

The hits just keep on coming (pun intended).  The latest NFLer to face charges is Adrian Peterson.

According to the news released today, Peterson has been indicted for child abuse in Texas.  The indictment is a result of Peterson allegedly disciplining a child using a switch.

From ESPN:

Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted by a Montgomery County, Texas, grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. The team deactivated him for Sunday’s home game against the Patriots.

Adrian Peterson’s attorney said Friday that Peterson used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced growing up in east Texas.

Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, issued a statement Friday saying his client’s conduct “involves using a switch to spank his son.” According to a report by Sports Radio 610 in Houston, Peterson removed the leaves of a tree branch, which he referred to in a police report as “a switch,” to strike the child.

Peterson is no stranger to trouble as he had previously faced charges of resisting arrest in Houston after a nightclub incident before the charges were eventually dropped.  Peterson also had a son that died from child abuse at the hands of the mother’s boyfriend only weeks after Peterson found out about the existence of that child.

This is another in the ongoing black eyes being inflicted upon the NFL, hence the title I chose for this post.  This indictment comes after the Ray Rice fiasco.  There’s also been other players arrested recently on domestic abuse charges since the Rice arrest.

Going back a bit further, you have Aaron Hernandez, Plaxico Burress, Mike Vick, and many others who have been arrested for everything from alcohol related charges to murder.  USA Today maintains a database of NFL arrests, and there are currently 730 arrest records from January 2000 until Peterson’s arrest today.  Doing the math, that averages out to around 49 arrests per year (if there are no more this year), which may or may not be different from any other organization with that many employees.  The New York Times analyzed the data from USA Today, and ironically enough, the Minnesota Vikings leads the NFL with the number of arrests. posted a story this morning titled How Can the Patriots Shut Down Adrian Peterson, and I think that question has definitely been answered.  He pretty much stopped himself.  There’s no need to analyze game film or study formations anymore.  This also means that statistical analysis and compilation will change with the new reality.  I guess YAC, formerly known as Yards After Catch/Contact, can now stand for Years After Conviction.  Yardage will now be measured by how much time a person gets out in the yard.  Sacks will now be replaced by days in solitary.  Kick returns will now be the number of actual kicks the person returns during a fight.  And so on…

The continued arrests don’t help the image of the NFL or what’s left of that image.  I guess that Michael Sam playing was the least of their worries, but it did make for a great, but temporary, diversion from their real issues.  I’ll continue to watch football on Friday and Saturday, but now, I’ll focus on trying to spot the NFLers out of the groups instead of the potential superstars.


11 thoughts on “NFL: National Felons League

  1. The only thing I don’t like about these things (and several more that aren’t sports related) is how everything is tried in the press now. There’s always a rush to judgement and a lot of the early “facts” of cases, turn out to not be facts at all.

    Don’t know a thing about Peterson but he does deserve his day in court. If he’s guilty, lay the wood to him (so to speak).

    It doesn’t surprise me that the NFL is where a lot of this stuff crops up. Look at the nature of the game and how, in spite of their protestations, the NFL is big on marketing the violence, mayhem and chaos part of the game. These guys are conditioned in an environment that doesn’t really mesh with civilian life. A lot of guys handle it but a lot don’t. As we discussed the other day, valuable players are used to having everything “fixed” to keep them playing. They eventually just think that’s normal.

    I think this also gives us one more opportunity to hold the press’ feet to the fire also. Since the vast majority of the press nowadays is more and more about pushing an agenda (and entertainment) and less and less about informing the public and finding facts, they’ve been late to the dance on several big stories. Just to mention 2, the shit really hit the fan on the Ray Rice thing when TMZ got the elevator video and a few years back, it was the National Inquirer that broke the John Edwards story. That’s a pretty damning indictment of the “serious news” outlets, in my mind, that they get scooped by the very people they look down on.

    As for being on the receiving end of a switch, I’ve been there and don’t really see a thing wrong with it. The switch, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing. If he overdid it, that’s another story. That’s what his trial will be for.


    • My wife and I said the same thing about the switch. I’m quite familiar with all the different versions, from the green one all the way to the braided one.

      I’ve lost faith in the corporate media outlets, and I tend to look for sources outside the US or non corporate owned sources.

      He’s definitely a marquee player, so I expect the media to convict him before the weekend is over. I read comments on articles where injuries were reported on the kid, and if that’s the case, then a court trial is how it should be dealt with.

      The NFL definitely has their hands full, and someone’s PR firm is about to get paid well to clean up their image.


      • I think the NFL is started a long, slow decline. What goes up must come down.

        I think Roger Goodell is going to be the sacrificial lamb, although the commissioner of any professional sports league is hired by and serves at the pleasure of the owners. Basically, the commissioner does their bidding. Somebody has to go in this case and it won’t be the owners. He made $44.2 million last year, though. He may have to cut back a bit but his golden parachute should ease his fall.

        As to the switch, we used to have to cut our own (and God help you if you tried to bring back one that was too small). The worst thing you could ever hear was “……….and get one off the peach tree”.


        • I agree with you on Goodell. Someone has to be sacrificed, and no owner is going to give themselves up.

          I remember my grandfather coming in the house with switches that had the ability to turn corners, or at least it seemed like they could. I have no idea of what kind of shrub it was, but we had some that I called switch bushes because that was their purpose from our perspective.

          Of all kinds, I think hickory was my least favorite. I never experienced peach.


          • Privet. It was probably a privet bush. We had one, too, and it was the one my mother favored for switches. My father made us cut our own switches, but he didn’t use switches all that much. He usually just took off his belt and used that. Both weapons, switches and the belt, occasionally left marks. My wonderful, loving parents would no doubt be felons if they were alive today and my brother and sister and I would have spent our childhoods in foster homes.

            Thank goodness things were different then. Now, of course, children have so many privileges and possessions you can take away to punish them that spanking bigger children is usually unnecessary. (I still believe in popping a preschooler on the butt with your hand.) Although I don’t think spanking is the best way and I didn’t do much of it myself, I can’t argue that it’s effective. When I first read he had been charged with child abuse, I thought, “How awful! A big strong man like that against a little kid.” When I read it was for switching his son, I thought, ” Wait a minute. I want to see pictures.” It’s unusual for me to take up for a powerful person accused of abusing a weaker one, and it’s almost unimaginable for me to side with a football player accused of child abuse. But in this ONE case, I need proof that punishment crossed the line into abuse. A privet switch will cut your legs, but the cuts aren’t deep and don’t hurt for very long.


          • Yes, that was it. I had flashbacks when I looked up photos. It left marks at the time of application, but the marks disappeared with nothing left behind.

            I don’t use switches on my girls. My presence is enough to get them in line the majority of the time.


  2. The more reports I see and hear from the media on this, the more I’m inclined to think it’s become just something to drive ratings. A while ago, there was reference to it on the TV as a “tree branch”. Folks on TV don’t know the difference in a tree limb and a tree branch but that’s another story for another day. A switch is far from either category.

    It’s beginning to remind of back in the day when they got all over Zell Miller (who’s not one of my favorite people) for saying somebody was “tough as a pine knot”, which was a compliment if the media hacks had the good sense to know it.

    And for the record, I’ve been hit with a tree limb, too, but not as a disciplinary thing. We played for keeps when I was coming up.


    • I’ve noticed the reporting as well. I’ve heard those different descriptions, even from the local news here. You’d think that Southerners would know that a switch is not a tree branch or a switch branch. It’s just a plain old switch.

      I wasn’t sure about it from the beginning, but like you, I’m beginning to think that it’s more about hyping the issues with the NFL players more than anything else. Compared to the arrests of other players, I don’t think Peterson’s is in the top 5 although some may consider it that because of the involvement of a child.

      As for getting hit with a tree branch, I’m not too sure if I want to know about that story… Sometimes, plausible denial is the best defense. 🙂


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