Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sports radio: Excusing the inexcusable

I was driving my dog down to the Santa Fe Trestle Trail early this evening so she could join her two best canine friends (and My Hero) for a sundown romp and on the way I was listening to ESPN radio. Usually I play my iPod when I’m in the car, but I was hoping that Chuck Cooperstein was hosting one of his infrequent shows since the Texas Rangers, which normally would be on ESPN at this hour, had a later starting time playing out west in Oakland. Lucky for me, Cooperstein, perhaps my favorite sports radio personality and easily the finest basketball play-by-play announcer I’ve ever encountered, was on the air. Joining him, I think, was someone who identified himself as Tim MacMahon, a name I am familiar with because someone with that name is a writer for ESPN.com. I am going to jump to the conclusion that Cooperstein’s co-host this evening and the ESPN.com writer are one in the same.

The two were discussing the situation of Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson and MacMahon had the audacity to excuse alleged Peterson’s child abuse of his son on the grounds that Peterson was raised to discipline children in that manner. Since Peterson’s father used on switch on him, MacMahon claimed, it was going to follow that Peterson would discipline his children exactly the same way.

The pictures above depict the wounds found on Peterson’s child and, remember, these pictures were taken days aftet the wounds were inflicted. That any child is forced is suffer through such abuse is inexcusable. But when did "Two wrongs do actually make a right" become a justification for such abuse? "My dad was a racist so it’s OK for me to be a racist, too." Perhaps some misguided fools actually believe that’s true, but civilized society says that type of thinking is way, way off base.

The Minnesota Vikings suspended Peterson from the team’s game last Sunday, but then this week they said the suspension was lifted and he would play in the Vikings upcoming game against the New Orleans Saints. MacMahon defended the decision on his "My father made me do it" argument. And much to my dismay, Cooperstein didn’t seem to raise a voice in objection. He said only the decision on whether Peterson should play was not the Minnesota head coach’s or even the NFL’s, but the Vikings owners.

Peterson committed an act of domestic violence, much the same as the indefinitely suspended Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens did, but because Peterson’s was committed against a helpless child makes it, it my estimation, even more heinous. And it seems Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton agrees. Today the governor said Peterson should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but the running back "is a public figure; and his actions, as described, are a public embarrassment to the Vikings organization and the State of Minnesota. Therefore, I believe the team should suspend Mr. Peterson until the accusations of child abuse have been resolved by the criminal justice system."

At least I’m not the only one rejecting "He was just raised that way" argument.

Update: Early Wednesday morning, the Vikings obviously saw the error of their ways (even if MacMahon may not agree).

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