Adrian Peterson will be a free agent next week, and there are a lot of teams that could be interested in his services. One team is the Green Bay Packers, who may lose Eddie Lacy to free agency. So if you’re a Packers writer, it only makes sense that you’d write a piece exploring the idea of a Peterson-Packers connection.
Pete Dougherty of Packers News, which is part of the USA Today Network, did just that, only he did so in the most baffling and upsetting way possible by… it’s hard to even see what his logic is. Dougherty uses slavery to explain Peterson beating his son with a stick. Here’s a screenshot of a portion of the article that has since been removed.
“Let’s also not forget that Peterson likely is descended from slaves who suffered savage disciplinary beatings generation after generation after generation. It excuses nothing but also can’t be ignored. This is learned behavior.”
It’s simply the weirdest thing you’ll ever see because it’s not your classic hate-fueled ignorance. It seems Dougherty is trying to be sympathetic but instead he’s announcing to the world that he thinks black people are all “likely” descended from slaves, and that’s why Peterson, who was born about 200 years after the end of slavery, beat his son with a stick. Does the USA Today Network have editors? How does that paragraph slip past somebody? What does it have to do with weighing whether to sign an aging, oft-injured running back?
Editing pro-tip: If you ever see a paragraph that starts with, “Let’s also not forget that [person] is likely descended from slaves…” you can just go ahead and delete that. You should probably have a conversation with that writer, too.
The apology from the site seems to encapsulate the idea that this is just very confusing.
Note to readers: A paragraph in an earlier version of Pete Dougherty’s column that included a reference to Peterson’s punishment of his 4-year-old son being connected to America’s history of slavery was removed. It was poorly reasoned and insensitive. We apologize to all readers who were offended.
Poorly reasoned, indeed.