Minnesota governor Mark Dayton is calling for the Vikings to suspend Adrian Peterson immediately. The team suspended Peterson last week in the wake of child abuse charges brought against him, but promptly reinstated the star running back after losing to the Patriots on Sunday.
Dayton released a statement this week saying that although this is an “awful situation,” he feels Peterson should be suspended while the legal process plays out.
Here is Dayton’s full statement, courtesy of KARE 11:
“It is an awful situation. Yes, Mr. Peterson is entitled to due process and should be "innocent until proven guilty." However, he is a public figure; and his actions, as described, are a public embarrassment to the Vikings organization and the State of Minnesota. Whipping a child to the extent of visible wounds, as has been alleged, should not be tolerated in our state. Therefore, I believe the team should suspend Mr. Peterson, until the accusations of child abuse have been resolved by the criminal justice system.
However, I will not turn my back on the Vikings and their fans, as some have suggested. The Vikings belong to Minnesota – and in Minnesota. This has been the team's only home; and our citizens, including myself, have been its most dedicated fans.”
Dayton’s point here is valid, and seems in line with what many people around the country are saying. The only due process we’re waiting on is to see if what Peterson did is illegal under Texas law. Whether or not he whipped his child is not in question. He admits to it, and we even have pictures of his four-year-old son’s wounds.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman made it clear yesterday that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf made the decision to reinstate Peterson. The move has elicited widespread criticism of the Vikings organization, and even cost the team a sponsorship deal. Wilf’s decision makes it clear he thinks winning football games is more important than publicly condemning something as serious as child abuse.
We shouldn’t be surprised by Wilf’s decision, though. After all, we’re talking about a man who has been convicted of a few crimes himself. In 2013, a court found Wilf guilty of racketeering, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract.