VERO BEACH, FLORIDA – Where is the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) when you REALLY need it?
That’s the question suspended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson — accused of child abuse for disciplining his 4-year-old son with a switch — must be asking himself these days.
Why isn’t the ACLU coming to his aid, Peterson is probably wondering, while his rights under federal law are being trampled.
The ACLU has long served as a self-appointed — and not always popular — protector of U.S. Constitutional rights.
It often lodges protests and seeks change when it deems certain things to not be entirely in line with the Bill of Rights and amendments to it.
ACLUers believe in strict application of the American “Law of the Land” — especially in the area of separation of church and state.
Violations of this principle commonly occur but are overlooked with a no-harm, no foul attitude by most Americans.
But they do not escape the watchful eye of the ACLU.
And, whether you agree with the ACLU’s stance against the mixing of religion and government or not, you must admit that, by the letter of the law, public school prayer and other such religious observances and items (Easter crosses, Christmas trees, etc.) in certain settings ARE indeed unconstitutional — no matter how well-intended.
So, what about Peterson’s right to due process accorded him by the constitution — the assumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law?
Especially given the circumstances surrounding Adrian’s actions.
In case you’ve just come out of a coma, here are his particulars.
Minnesota Vikings management initially suspended Peterson when he was officially charged with child abuse by authorities in his home state of Texas while Vikes honchos sorted through the facts available to them.
The Vikings organization then conducted a thorough investigation of the matter; they got everyone’s side of the story — including Peterson’s claim he meant no harm, that he was just disciplining his child in the same manner he and many kids growing up in the same region were.
Among others, Charles Barkley came to Peterson’s aid by saying that’s the way many black kids — himself included — in the southern U.S. were disciplined (not that switching is exclusively a black thing; white boy MAS, too, was switched a time or four in his childhood).
What constitutes child abuse is often not clearly outlined or defined by state laws. It’s sort of a “you know it when you see it” deal.
In this instance, a doctor discovered it.
Because of its hazy nature, the Vikings concluded that the courts should decide if Peterson was guilty of child abuse or not.
He was reinstated and cleared to play while the wheels of justice turned.
In other words, the Vikes recognized and respected Peterson’s right of due process under the U.S. Constitution.
The ACLU should have been exulting — no doubt their previous watchdog activities had contributed to the Vikings stance on the issue.
Dead silence from them, though.
But that was not the end of the matter — more on that in a bit.
At this point, it should be noted that MAS feels there is a clear distinction between Peterson’s situation and those cases involving the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice and Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers (both also suspended indefinitely for domestic violence).
Rice was seen on a smoking gun video and Hardy was appealing his already handed down conviction.
Whatever constitutional and legal protections the pair have — double jeopardy in Rice’s case and due process in Hardy’s appeal — are, in good conscience, hard to argue for.
Though, again, if the ACLU wanted to cross ALL the t’s and dot all the i’s in “constitutional protection”, they could conceivably come to the defense of the pair — they’ve done it in the past with admitted murderers.
What’s the diff?
Getting back to the Vikings’ “let the courts do their thing” stance: Immediately after their announcement of Peterson’s reinstatement, Vikes management came under heavy fire from a variety of folks, including the governor of Minnesota, appalled that the team dared allow a child abuser to play for them.
But it wasn’t until the Vikings’ corporate sponsors joined the guilty-until-proven innocent chorus that the ballclub caved in and reversed its stance and again gave the boot to Peterson (although the Vikes must still pay him).
What a cowardly and unconscionable thing done by the money-grubbing Viking management!
What about Peterson’s right of due process and how about the, um, you know, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness thingy?
The Vikings brass has met the enemy, the PC Police. Vikes honchos came, saw and . . . kowtowed.
Let it be known that MAS is neither condoning what Peterson did or condemning him for his actions.
Only speaking out for his constitutional rights.
In a matter of considerable relevance, despite being charged with domestic violence (involving a male minor), Hope Solo, goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s national soccer team, will continue to play for the squad as she awaits her November trial date.
Can you say gross inequity?
And double standard?
Regarding the Peterson situation, if you asked 100 people off the record — without fear of the PC Police breaking down their door — half would say they’re not sure whether what he did amounted to child abuse.
Many folks, like MAS and Sir Charles, no doubt got a slight licking or three when they were young and feel they turned out alright.
My point is: where does a parent’s right to discipline his child end and child abuse begin?
As stated, the laws are often nebulous in this regard.
Personally, MAS doesn’t believe in corporal punishment. He has a wonderful daughter in both mind and body who he never once spanked or anything of the sort.
He believed in — and practiced — common sense human reasoning in raising his Kimmy, aka Li’l Dumplin’.
And it worked out darn well.
But who is MAS to try to force his methodology upon others — as so many have done in the Peterson situation?
Shame on you, Minny guv, and you corporate shills for your bullying tactics.
It’s such a “Who’s to say?” deal, how about we leave it up to those whose job it IS to say in these gray area instances.
Whaddya say, ACLU, are you with me regarding protecting Adrian Peterson’s Constitutional rights?
Hello . . . hello . . . anybody there?
Contact Man About Sports at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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