Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Let’s stop tolerating bad behavior by pro football players & more November 19, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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Vikings mascot

Minnesota Vikings mascot photographed on a mug belonging to my husband.

BEFORE I GET INTO THE HEART of this post, you need to know that I don’t care about sports. Not one iota. Never have. Never will.

In my opinion, sports have overrun our society, sucking away family time, assuming a pedestal of importance above all else, and more.

Yes, I recognize the value of athletics in teaching teamwork, building confidence, providing an outlet to exercise and serving as entertainment. But there needs to be a balance. Sports should not run our lives.

I don’t understand, either, the high value and adulation bestowed upon athletes, especially professionals and specifically football players.

Why do (did) people admire guys like Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson, who beat his son?

That the National Football League has now suspended Peterson without pay for the rest of the season was the right thing to do. Absolutely. This sends a strong message that criminal behavior will no longer be tolerated. Or at least I hope that’s the intent. Maybe it’s more about public relations or sponsors or appearances.

I never felt that Peterson was truly sorry for beating his four-year-old, especially given his no contest plea to the misdemeanor charge of reckless assault. Maybe sorry he was caught and sorry he couldn’t play football. But not truly repentant. He didn’t appear genuinely remorseful.

Then there’s Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens player who knocked his then fiancee’ (now wife) unconscious in an elevator. The domestic assault was captured on videotape. He’s appealing his indefinite suspension from the NFL. Really?

Domestic violence should not be tolerated, no matter the perpetrator or victim. Never. Ever. Perpetrators must be held accountable. On their first offense. Why are there second offenses and third and…? Why?

We as a society need to recognize domestic violence for what it is—a crime. No football player, no anybody should get away with attacking a woman. (I’m using the word “woman” here because most victims of domestic abuse are women.)

My stomach churns when I read stories about men like Rice and NFL codes of silence on domestic violence.

Enough, people. Enough. No sport is worth excusing and/or overlooking the crime of assaulting a man, woman or child.

What are your thoughts?

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling