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The heat on the Minnesota Vikings organization has been turning up over the past couple days, and after today's call from Minnesota governor Mark Dayton, the temperature is only rising. After allegations of child abuse surfaced concerning their star running back Adrian Peterson last Friday, the Vikings reacted quickly, suspending him for last Sunday's game against the New England Patriots.
Unfortunately, the team lost big in the game. Likely fearing a further slide, the organization re-activated Peterson for this week's match-up against the New Orleans Saints. However, when the team re-activated Peterson, they claimed that it had nothing to do with football. According to Minnesota GM Rick Spielman, Peterson's case "hasn't been in front of the jury yet, and what we have is what we're aware of right now, and collecting all of the evidence and facts that we can to make this decision, we felt that this was the best decision going forward." Parsing through the legalese, Spielman is saying that they're going to let the courts decide what is right and wrong.
Their timing to make the decision was poor. Yesterday, further allegations attached to Peterson arose. The claim charges Peterson with leaving a scar on the face of his 4-year-old child after "whooping" the child for swearing. Peterson's lawyers vehemently deny the claim.
However, Governor Dayton is not pleased with the organization's decision to let Peterson play on Sunday. Said Dayton in a statement released today:
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.
That's a lot of pressure, and it's beginning to come from all sides. Yesterday, the Radisson hotel chain suspended their partnership with the Vikings in light of the team's decision to let Peterson play on Sunday. The Vikings have yet to formally respond.
[via Pro Football Talk]