Dear Adrian Peterson, You’re No Hero


Dear Adrian Peterson,

This is a letter I never thought I would have to write. I’m just so sad, disappointed, and mad.

Maybe this one hits closer to home because I grew up a Vikings fan in Minnesota. I have family there. I have nieces and nephews who’ve been running around in your jersey since they were old enough to walk, and whose proudest moment in life was the day they got to meet you and shake your hand.

Now someone has to tell those kids that you won’t be playing on Sunday. Because you went to jail for beating a child. A child not much younger than they are.

Yes Adrian, I’m sad for the kids I love. But not nearly as sad as I am for the kids you love. They have a star football player as their daddy. The guy they look up to, the guy everyone looks up to, the guy they see on TV, the guy who all their friends want to meet…and the guy who beats them with belts and tree branches when no one else is around.

And yet, they still love you. And they still idolize you. Because you’re their daddy. And they don’t know any better.

But you, Adrian, you know better. I don’t care how you were raised in East Texas. I don’t care if your daddy “whooped” you growing up. Physical abuse of a child is not an “act of love.” And no one should know that better than you. You lost a child (a son you had never met) at the hands of another man, who delivered a beating so severe his poor little body couldn’t recover.

And you know what? While people were defending you, calling for your privacy, asking us not to judge, I was judging you, Adrian. I judged you for having a two-year-old son you never met. I’m still judging you for it. And the fact that you did the same thing to your other kids, only to a lesser degree, well…I’ll judge you for that for the rest of my life. And yours.

We’ve been talking all week about the damage a football player can do to a woman. But anyone can harm a child. It’s just that most of us choose not to.

I think it’s time we redefine what makes someone a hero. It’s not throwing a ball, catching a ball, or running fast while holding a ball.

A hero is someone who protects.

You’re no hero, Adrian.

Now, someone’s got to tell the kids that.


    • Richard says:

      He was wrong… But what I can’t believe is how many perfect ppl we have in this world who find it very easy to cast judgement! He made a mistake but I believe he has done more than u the author will ever do for charities ect… He was wrong but I am sure u have messed up too, where is the blog on that

  1. Susan Hill says:

    Amen to this story Heather! So well written and so well taken. I only hope it’s taken to heart by people all over the country who put someone so high up on a pedestal that don’t belong up there.

  2. Harry says:

    This letter could not be more ignorant. You don’t know his life, no one else but him and his family do and your judging is disrespectful, arrogant and moronic. You’re a moron. His life has been a mess. He lost his brother when he was a child to a drunk driver, he lost another to suicide. It wasn’t right what he did, but it’s unfair and laughably unintelligent of you to try and paint a horrible picture of him. You know so little of the facts and anyone with a mind reading this can see that. Take this down and hope no one remembers it. Your credibility is shot

      • Harry says:

        I’m not saying he deserves to be on a petistol, but your open ‘judging’ of him is wrong. Also, the fact that you’re making it open and wanting everybody to know it has backfired. You’re not intelligent and your writing proves it

          • Harry says:

            Point taken, no autocorrect here. But I bet you’ve never openly claimed to be unintelligent, and that’s what this suggests. I agree it’s unfortunate what he did, but don’t go around and say he’s no hero, such a grand proclamation, because YOU don’t know the facts yet

      • Kathy P says:

        Then go south my dear and tell those parents to STOP USING A SWITCH!!! Why did you allow you child to look up to AP as a hero? What is wrong with you? Did you mention the war heros’? His teacher? His father? Amen to that??

    • Kathy P says:

      OMG! You people are frickin’ crazy! A. Hero? Why so? Athletes are players, not heros. Veterans, parents, teachers, someone that actually teaches you something is a hero. Not a football player! Oh My Goodness!!!!
      B. You are going to tell your 4 year old about this? WTH? Why?
      C. Go down south, enforce your opinion on punishment to any parent that has given their child a whipping with a belt or a switch. Don’t limit your opinion to AP.
      D. AP will be playing Sunday.
      E. You people up here are calling it a peice of wood, a branch, a stick, there isn’t a switch tree up here in the north so how would you possibly know?

    • Schaeffer says:

      He was not indicted for hitting with a switch. Let’s be clear about this: he was arrested for child abuse with a switch, the duration and force of which broke
      the skin in multiple places (which was bare when hit) and was administered by a professional athlete who probably has no idea of his strength esp relative to a small young body.

  3. rush says:

    Heather, I don’t even know where to begin with this. I hope you know people make mistakes. If piling on to a man whose already down makes you happy, then God bless you. But whether you’re religious or not, all judging should be left to the creator of all things and you, my dear, aren’t even qualified to judge yourself, let alone another being. You’re definitely allowed to have your opinion, but just think what if every one of your mistakes were magnified and judged by the masses?? Don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house……..

    • Harry says:

      Yup, this comes off so ignorant, misinformed and unintelligent. She’s trying to make a name for herself by being strongly opinionated on this topic but it comes off as mean

  4. Darryl says:

    I have no issue with what was written, it is true. It is not mean, it is true.

    The only problem I have is the last 3 lines. AP never asked to be made a hero by anyone. He is paid to play football, and does so as well as any who have ever done it.

    Society chooses to elevate individuals to ridiculous levels of adulation, and hero worship, without having any knowledge about the individual except what they see on the field, court, television or movie screen. That society does this, with no basis for it in most cases, is not the fault of the individual “star”. That they have been unable to live up to the standards that society applies to their “heroes” is no different than anyone else. I challenge anyone to live up to the level of scrutiny these “stars” are subjected to, and see if their life choices stand up.

    This is not a defense of AP. His actions are disappointing, his justifications for them even more so. We have the right to be disappointed, perhaps, and certainly sad that any adult would choose to discipline a child in that manner. But mad? You had better be equally mad at every, single parent that has ever gone too far in disciplining their child, smacked a bottom too hard, used a wooden spoon, or grabbed them too hard. AND, you had better start writing about them too, and naming names, or your well written emotionally stirring opinion is nothing more than using a “star” to get your own name noticed..

  5. Dawn C says:

    I have such a hard time getting behind your opinion on this matter. I do agree that no child deserves to have his skin broken, but why would any mother in her right mind say “honey AP isn’t playing today cause he beat his kid”. Also, hero’s are people that can do things the rest of us cannot imagine. Many police, military, and public servants get that title too….a firefighter who saved lives in New York, only to become an alcoholic and kill someone in a car, is no less a hero from that day, only someone who fell hard.

    In AP’s case he rose up from an injury to have the best year of his career…that is admirable, and he will also feel the swift fall from greatness if this ends in a conviction. What can we teach our children from AP, that guess what no matter who you are your actions have consequences, and that may not make him a hero, but it does carry a lesson.

    The silver lining is that more people are talking about child abuse than ever before….grace in the light of tragedy.

  6. Kevin says:

    Adrian Peterson is not a hero any more than any athlete is a hero.

    Stop teaching your children to deify athletes and you won’t have to feign anger over having to explain to them the reality of a person’s mistakes and inhumanity in the first place.

    Stop waiting for the goddamn NFL to raise your kids. Do it yourself.

  7. Betty says:

    Get off your high horses people. Dont
    Tell me or anyone else that you have
    Never hurt your child in one way or another! Verbal and mental abuse are even worse. Physical scars go away but VERBAL & MENTAL abuse stays with people all their life.

  8. Linds says:

    I sure hope your children’s heros never make mistakes, how little they may be. AP screwed up BIG time, yes, but to judge and publicly crucify someone shows true character.

  9. Tina says:

    No child deserves to be abused but no person deserves to have their entire life be publicly criticized! I am sure that you are not perfect as I have never met anyone that has never made a mistake in their life! How would you feel if every mistake you made was publicly criticized? As long as people learn from the mistakes they make who are you to judge them

  10. Cedric Frazier says:

    I’m tired of people trying to push the way they think and feel onto others. I was whopped as a child and it did nothing but teach me when you screw up, they are consequences. I respect my parents to the highest degree and understand why Adrian was doing it. Spare the rod, spare the child. This IMO is why this society has a generation of kids who don’t free anything, parents are worried that if they whoop their kids, they will get in trouble. I’m not going to judge you, I’ll let God do that but I do think you can keep your silly judgement to yuorself.

  11. Nicole says:

    Wow – there is a lot of emotion going back and forth in these comments. I, for one, do support what is being said here and thank you, Heather, for proudly posting your opinion.
    Yes, Adrian Peterson did not ask to be a hero. However, the Vikings, NFL, and the media have put him up on a pretty high pedestal. No wonder kids adore him.
    Regardless, he made a choice that has consequences. Hopefully those consequences hurt him much more than he hurt that child. And I have told my children about this. They need to learn that when you hurt someone else, there will be consequences. What better way for them to learn that EVERYBODY makes mistakes and EVERYBODY has to live with the consequences?
    NO matter you history or your upbringing, you can make different choices. I’m tired of hearing, “I was brought up that way.” We all have the power to make better choices and shame on you if you hide behind that excuse. If Adrian Peterson wants to be respected, he will need to learn to be a person that is respectable.

  12. Junecleo says:

    I’m with you here… like it or not, people who go into pro sports are looked up to by kids all over, and if they want to be heroes they should act the part. Even though I tell my kids that all people are equal, and none are worthy of praise, they still will choose certain people they hope to be like one day. And then when they find out those people are capable of making mistakes, they are either disappointed OR they stick up for their hero despite what he has done, as many have in the comments above. What AP has done doesn’t make him any different as a football player, but to those given great power, great responsibility is also given. He is privileged to be able to play a game he loves and make huge amounts of money in the process… He certainly could have afforded a few parenting classes, and can hire help so he can’t argue he is overwhelmed… There is a HUGE difference between spanking and what AP did to his child. And I don’t buy the “he didn’t know his own strength” argument. If this were true, he’d be breaking every fragile thing he touched, and I doubt he does that. So, whether or not any of us should be putting athletes on a pedestal, the league who spends so much money making sure these guys can win meaningless games should also make sure that their players have good character and the ability to represent their team in proper manner outside of the arena as well. If they won’t, perhaps the only moral choice for the rest of us is to stop watching pro sports entirely. Do we, as people, have the right to judge others? No. Do we make our own mistakes? Of course. Should we, when we see someone doing wrong, call them on it? You betcha! AP, what you did was wrong!

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