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The Dec. 14 AP sports article “Peterson loses appeal” describes the NFL’s decision to suspend Adrian Peterson until next spring as punishment for his disciplinary switching of his son, which was deemed abusive.

I am worried by the idea of one’s employer adding additional punishment after the law has already performed its function. Having a code of conduct is one thing, but routinely subjecting people to double jeopardy is not right and seems to threaten the capacity for atonement and rehabilitation.

It is the state’s prerogative, not the private employers’ prerogative, to enforce the law and punish offenders. … I am reminded of other high-profile athletes similarly subjected to double punishment: baseball’s Pete Rose over his gambling, and football’s Michael Vick over his dog fighting.

If we habitually allow people’s careers and lives to be taken away and destroyed in outrage at their transgressions, how can we accurately measure the benefit to society and avoid being abusive ourselves in our zeal to express our outrage?

In many of these instances the benefit seems commercial above all else. Offenders have to be treated harshly, ostracized and expelled — and quickly — to protect sponsorship and ad revenue. The corporation must plug those revenue leaks and protect itself from lawsuits that might further threaten revenue. There is always an inescapable element of pure theatrics.

grant piper
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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