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In The End, Adrian Peterson Set An Example To Black Fathers: Be Present

vavel-2986297234It’s hard to write about Adrian Peterson and what he did and has gone through and will go through without angering some folks. So, prepare to be angered.

With the legal side of his case of physically disciplining his child now finalized in Texas, the resounding message to the Minnesota Vikings superstar running back should be this:

Get on with your life and career.

The apparent intensity and over-the-top, even brutal way in which he whipped his 4-year-old son with a switch—causing bruises in his groin area and other parts of his body—crystalized the difference between a father trying to discipline his child and a coward looking to abuse a kid.

That conveyed, here’s the part that might anger you: Peterson was there for his son instead of playing “ghost daddy,” a role that has plagued the Black community.

He was being a father. He cared enough to discipline his son, even if he was wild and beyond reason in his actions.

One of the ills of the Black community has been the lack of men taking care of their sons or even being there to offer advice, lend support and most of all show that a man cares for him.

Their absence in the kids’ lives leaves mothers to play dual roles, which, God bless them for their strength and will, they cannot fully accomplish.

It takes a man to show a son how to be a man. Peterson will become a better father because of his mistake. He accepted a plea deal and avoided jail time and, once Lord Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, weighs in, will be able to resume his stellar career at some point.

As well he should. He rightfully has paid a hefty price for his actions. Public perception of Peterson, widely liked by teammates and most anyone who encounters him, was far from favorable, and despite the agreement to pay a fine and do community service and heartfelt apologies, the view of Peterson as a child abuser for some has been irrevocably cast.

He knows it.

“I truly regret this incident,” Peterson said. “I accept full responsibility for my actions. I love my son more than anyone could even know. I’m anxious to continue my relationship with my child.”

In today’s troubled world, where young Black men wear pants so low their underwear is exposed and they have to walk like a duck to keep their jeans from falling to their knees, where many find prison a comfortable place and are surprised that they live into their 20s, a man who cares about his kids is needed.

Baby boomers caught a switch, extension cord, tree branch, belt. . . whatever parents had closest to them in that moment that required discipline. It was an accepted practice to go upside your head in the village that raised children. Your friend’s mother would grab you by the ear if she caught you doing wrong.

That village no longer exists. Don’t think of addressing someone else’s child, much less admonishing him. Parents coddle kids, adorn them with designer clothes, cell phones and pricey video games. In return, many receive calls from the school with concerns about the child’s behavior or lack of progress. And guess what: The parent blames the teacher or administrator. Discipline reveals itself as a tongue-lashing . . . followed by a smile and a hug. Yes, it’s a different day.

Adrian Peterson beat his child, and it was one of those moments many Baby Boomers experienced: “This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you.”

He went overboard in trying to teach a lesson. A brutal mistake. But his intent was grounded in love and caring. The father was there for the son. Not enough Black men can say the same.

Curtis Bunn is a best-selling novelist and national award-winning sports journalist who has worked at The Washington Times, NY Newsday, The New York Daily News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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8 thoughts on “In The End, Adrian Peterson Set An Example To Black Fathers: Be Present

  1. Amen from a baby boomer who got the switch, belt, shoe, back hand and a few others. I thank God daily for parents who love me enough to show love on my rear end. I know now I deserved each whipping I received, did I think so at the time; no what child would? I believe and know in my heart if not for the belt, switch, etc I would not be the woman I am today.
    Better a bruise at 4, that a funeral at 14.

  2. Well said CURTIS BUNN! I like this young man and his voice. SPEAK ON AND ON AN ON.

  3. Up to the mid 60's black men were very present in the family, often more so than other ethnic groups, but with the introduction of welfare, and in particular no fault divorces, this lead many black women (women of other ethnicities as well) in droves initiated divorces because they were "bored" and black women thought they could raise a child on their own because many had/have family court on their side. Family court about 90% of the time gives custody to women with onerous child support men have to pay and abide by with limited visitation, and visitation rights that family courts rarely enforce on the fathers behalf. This has lead to a phenomenon called "parental neglect." We've all seen it on t.v., this is when the black child talks shit about their dad. This is because the mother and family court pushed him out, and often times mom talks shit about the father, if not directly, indirectly and in subtle and very insidious ways that have become part of our culture. For instance, the meme "independent woman"has become mainstream, it's a more PC version of "I don't need a man", however, it gets it point across. But, the "disposable male"is a more recent and dangerous meme that has emerged from white feminist camps and is gaining in popularity.

    This is not to excuse Adrian Peterson and other black men like him, but when the author uses Peterson for some other agenda, well, that has to be addressed.

  4. Holyname Neal says:

    I agree with this web story 100%.

  5. Holyname Neal says:


  6. You know I can understand the point you are trying to make.But it falls flat for several reasons.The primary reason is that it excuses behavior that could destroy that 4 year old child.It is compelling how black people are so quick to discount the feelings of a child in deference to making a point about fatherlessness.I was abused by my mother and stepfather, both from the south-yet another reason to dislike southern culture.As an adult who has raised 3 children, without corporal punishment, I come to realize, sadly, that my community does not give a shit about abused children.This idea that the only way to keep black children safe and help boys to grow up is by brutalizing them is sick and twisted logic of the most perverse kind. All3 of my children are college grads and great people-without beating the crap out of them with shoes, extension cords, the back of hands, fists, belts, beating them while naked, and subjecting them to verbal humiliations.

  7. Wow,Colin,thanks for a well-reasoned ,factual analysis,however brief,of why black fathers are not in the lives of their kids more often.The truth is,much of this absenteeism is way over stated.Nonetheless,you raise points that black women DONOT WISH TO DISCUSS OPENLY.I grew up in a household where my black mother talked badly about blackmen daily .I also remember clearly reading in magazines, like Essence and others as well, articles by Terry McMillan that blamed blackmen for all of the problems the black community faces.Unfortunately Colin,far too many black-men buy into this bullshit,greatly contributing to the problem;It should come as no surprise that this mantra of beat your kids and black men aren't worthy is intertwined with southern Christian culture and northern post modern feminism.Personally,you can keep both away from me.Because of the beatings and humiliations I suffered,I stopped talking to both my parents yeas ago and would I not allow either of them to EVER discipline my children.

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