Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson believes that a culture clash led to an element of misunderstanding when it came to child-abuse charges that cost him 15 games during the 2014 season.
Peterson said NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell, who handed down the suspension, was "blind" to what he was going through.
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Roger Goodell, man, I don't know. . . . This is when I knew he was blind to the fact of what I was going through. I sat down with him. He asked me, 'What is a whuppin'? . . . It was one of the first questions. . . . It kind of showed me we were on a totally different level. It's just the way of life. For instance, in Texas, we know what whuppin's are. Down there, if it snows, people are going to go crazy. They're going to close schools. They're going to shut it down. Here, you're used to that. It was just a tough situation, because of misperception. . . . I get it. I get why. But you still shouldn't pass judgment on people when you don't know.
In May of 2014, Peterson hit his four-year-old son with a "switch," leading to a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child. Although he originally avoided an indictment and was able to play in Week 1 against the St. Louis Rams, but the grand jury turned around and indicted him a few days later. He spent the rest of the season on the exempt/commissioner's permission list.
Peterson, 30, was reinstated last April and made a major impact upon his return. The All-Pro running back churned out 1,485 yards on the ground, claiming the 2015 NFL rushing title. He was the main reason behind Minnesota's 11-5 record and NFC North title, as he led the team with 11 touchdowns and was the only back in the league who recorded more than 300 carries.
Under normal circumstances, Peterson would be a shoo-in for Comeback Player of the Year. However, considering the nature of his absence in 2014, the veteran ball-carrier is far from a lock for that award.