Phil Mushnick – Being A Great Player Doesn't make Peterson a Great Guy

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We in the media — especially those working event broadcasts — have a horrible habit of blindly or wishfully reporting great achievers are additionally blessed: They’re great humans.

Among many others, we did it with Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Last year, we began to do it with Adrian Peterson, before, and then after, he was selected the NFL’s MVP. With every big game — 2,037 running yards worth — the media bloated his profile: There runs Superman, a super guy, too.

“We talked with him after practice, and let me tell you this and that about Adrian Peterson.” “Adrian Peterson still finds time to do charity work in the Twin Cities area.” Blah, blah and blah. Good equals goodness.

Thus it was unsurprising Peterson’s downside went ignored. In 2009, he was busted for driving 109 mph in a 55 mph zone. He dismissed that as no big deal, which was doubly disturbing — his older, full brother was killed by a reckless driver.

Last summer, Peterson was in a club when he and friends were informed that it was closing time, past 2 a.m. Apparently, Peterson and pals felt they would decide when it was time to close. The police report noted three cops were needed to subdue Peterson.

He spent the rest of the night in jail, arrested for resisting arrest (a charge that was later dismissed).

Of course, we all have to operate from are our own set of values, our personal sense of right from wrong. Perhaps, given current standards among NFL players — mostly college men, no less — Peterson qualifies as a man of good character.
Still, I’m stuck with what I’ve got. And it’s sickening the NFL’s latest MVP, hours after his son died — allegedly murdered — declared he was “ready to roll,” ready to play football.

Me? I’d be fighting for breath, my knees weak with grief, demanding to know why, who, how. Then, I suspect, I’d seethe with rage, swearing retribution. I even think I’d take off a day or two from work. Maybe a week.

The suspect in the beating murder of Peterson’s 2-year-old is the boyfriend of Peterson’s “baby mama” — now the casual, flippant, detestable and common buzz-phrase for absentee, wham-bam fatherhood.

The accused, Joseph Patterson, previously was hit with domestic assault and abuse charges.

With his resources, how could Peterson, the NFL’s MVP, have allowed his son to remain in such an environment? Did he not know, or not care? Or not care to know? Or not know to care?

Peterson couldn’t have provided his son a better life, a longer life?
Money can’t buy love, but having signed a $96 million deal, he could not have provided his child — apparently his second from a “baby mama” — a safe home?
But given Peterson’s father did hard time for drug money laundering, and his half-brother was murdered, maybe we’re both stuck with the values in which we were born, raised.

On Friday, Peterson said he was “focused” on football. On Sunday, he played. But it’s not as if murder doesn’t now regularly afflict the NFL.

Maybe Peterson’s son is just one more stands-to-reason murder victim, just another child born to just another “baby mama,” one more kid who never had a shot, anyway. Maybe, by now, even if we can’t accept it, we can expect it.

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