One of the fundamental questions a lot of folks are wrestling with in the case of Adrian Peterson and charges of child abuse is this: did he act maliciously in a situation where there is no grey area, or can his behavior be explained (if not excused) by the environment he grew up in and a Southern culture many of us don’t know or understand?
To us, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle, whereby Peterson is most definitely a product of a different environment and upbringing, but within that acceptance 1) there needs to be growth from generation to generation and an understanding that how he was punished growing up isn’t necessarily right and 2) even if we continue with the “this is how it is” leeway, within that construct he went well over the line with the extent of the punishment he doled out.
Two prominent former athletes, both black, weighed in on both sides of the matter recently. We’ll give you a quick snippet of what each said on camera, with links to the full video.
Said Charles Barkley: “I’m from the South. … Whipping, we do that all the time. Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances.”
Said Cris Carter, talking about his upbringing: “My mom did the best that she could do … 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.”
Of course, Carter also said he was proud of the Vikings for de-activating Peterson. We’re assuming he’ll have more to say now that the Vikings have announced Peterson is expected to play next week.
Your thoughts, as usual, in the comments.
In another going-nowhere season for the Twins, the best fans can hope for are signs that certain players could be considered parts of the future.
We found that out last year with Brian Dozier, who has leveled off this season after a powerful start but still projects to hit for above-average power while playing a very good second base for years to come. This year, we’ve seen flashes of it from Kyle Gibson. We’ve seen a very good first 350 ABs for Danny Santana and a very nice first impression from Kennys Vargas.
The player we thought was primed for a breakout, though, was Oswaldo Arcia. Through the first half of the year, however, he was looking more like a bust than boom. Even now, his cumulative numbers are similar to his promising but uneven 2013 season.
Yet still, there are numbers within numbers and trends within trends that suggest he’s starting to figure it out and re-emerge as someone whose bat could be a key part of the future. In has last 43 games, Arcia has 12 homers and a .551 slugging percentage. He’s still striking out too much, but his plate discipline is improving (see for yourself if you still have the stomach for these late-season games). Arcia had a hit and two walks on Sunday, bringing his season BB total to 29 — not a lot, but a number that could go up as Arcia (just 23 still) matures even more.
We don’t ever see him as a .300 hitter. What we do see him as is a guy who can hit .250 with 25-30 HRs and enough walks to consistently post an OPS above .800. Even with his defensive shortcomings, that’s a positive player in the future. (His home run power and intensity, we should add, also make him the RandBall Better Half’s new favorite Twins player, joining a select group that includes only Eddie Guardado and Jim Thome. She desperately wants her nickname for him, O’do, to catch on).
So while the Twins’ starting pitching remains a mess despite their efforts to address it this offseason — and the team will never get out of its funk until that is solved — the establishment of some young bats this season is a nice development that has helped lead to the astonishing stat that Minnesota is 6th in MLB in runs scored.
We weren’t sure Arcia would wind up in that group, but he’s showing us down the stretch that he does, indeed, belong.
The Vikings have reduced the three-game suspension of special teams coach Mike Priefer because he completed diversity training.
The team released this statement tonight:
The Minnesota Vikings will reinstate Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer effective Monday, September 15. The decision by Vikings ownership follows extensive conversations with the independent professional consultants retained to conduct individualized anti-harassment, diversity and sexual orientation training with Coach Priefer. Those consultants have conveyed to the team that Coach Priefer was fully and thoughtfully engaged throughout the process and successfully completed the program. Details within the settlement agreement pertaining to the actions by the team remain confidential.
Joe Marciano coached the Vikings special teams during Priefer’s absence.
In between being pelted with questions about running back Adrian Peterson, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was asked to evaluate the Vikings special teams performance. His answers were just as short as those regarding Peterson.
“It wasn’t too good,” Zimmer said of the special teams unit. “It wasn’t too good.”
Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones blocked kicker Blair Walsh’s 48-yard field goal attempt and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown with nine seconds left in the first half. It was part of a stretch where New England ripped off 30 unanswered points in the 30-7 victory over the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium.
“We needed that kick,” Walsh said. “We have to do better as a unit there, and we can’t have that. We have to have enough room to do our kicks and do our job.”
Zimmer said Jones swam inside to block the kick that would’ve trimmed the deficit down to 17-10 right before the half. Instead, the 10-point swing was part of many mistakes made on special teams.
The Patriots froze the Vikings defense on 4th and short situations, stalling their decision to punt with the offense still out on the field. They’d have their punt team ready on the sideline and wait late in the play clock to send out punter Ryan Allen.
During the first instance, the Vikings left their defense on the field with punt returner Marcus Sherels back to return the punt. The Patriots decided to punt the ball, and Sherels waived for a fair catch.
There was another moment in the second half when the Vikings defense was confused whether to remain on the field again, though the coaching staff was waving them over to the sideline with the Patriots lining up to punt. The Vikings only had nine players on the field.
The Vikings have been without their special teams coordinator, Mike Priefer, during the first two games as he serves a suspension for anti-gay comments made during the 2012 season. The three-game ban can be reduced to two games at the team’s discretion, making Priefer available to return to the team on Monday. Zimmer did not say whether Priefer would return to coach against the Saints in Week 3.
“As far as I know, it’s three weeks,” Zimmer said.