The Minnesota Vikings have reversed its previous position regarding running back Adrian Peterson and have decided to place him on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list. What this means it that Mr. Peterson will not be allowed to participate in team practices or play on game day while he addresses child abuse charges stemming out of Texas regarding his four year old son.
After the indictment was handed down, the Vikings organization initially deactivated Mr. Peterson for its game this past Sunday, which turned out to be a 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots.
But losing wasn’t acceptable to the Vikings’ owners, Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf, so on Monday they released a statement saying that Mr. Peterson will be allowed to fully participate in practices and meetings this week and will play Sunday against the Saints.
So what happened ? Why the change of position by the Vikings’ organization? Why have the moved from deactivation, to reinstatement, to now placing Mr. Peterson on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list?
According to the ownership – “While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian,” owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said in a statement. “We want to be clear: We have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community.”
Well that is all nice but the real reason is easy – the Wilfs and the NFL have heard from their corporate sponsors and several have announced that they were suspending their deals with the Vikings while others have decided to sever any and all ties with Mr. Peterson.
Specifically, the Radisson hotel chain suspended its sponsorship with the Vikings, while Castrol Motor Oil, Special Olympics Minnesota and Mylan Inc. have all severed ties with Peterson, and Twin Cities Nike stores pulled Peterson’s jerseys from its shelves.
In addition, Anheuser-Busch issued a strongly worded statement that said it was disappointed in the way the NFL was handling all of the negative attention surrounding former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s assault of his then-fiancée, and Mr. Peterson’s arrest for child abuse.
So again, instead of the Minnesota Vikings owners doing the right thing for the right reasons, they are only doing the right thing after learning that they could lose coveted sponsorship revenue by doing the wrong thing.