The National Football League offices must be a very weird place to be, nowadays. Whereas their biggest problem used to be which games to move to Sunday nights so that Cris Collinsworth could ooh and aaah all over the place, the past few months have proven parlous for the game and its players, coaches, league officials, and owners.
Ish just got real. No need to backtrack over the Ray Rice situation, except to say that somehow, we've lost focus of the fact that a man weighing 225 lbs, with 3% body fat, beat his woman unconscious and then dragged her out of an elevator, in favor of bickering over who saw what and when.
And then came the Adrian Peterson matter; the Minnesota Vikings running back thought the best way to teach his four-year-old son not to push his half-brother around was to take a tree branch and beat the child bloody with it. This is a crime in the state of Texas, where Peterson was indicted. At first, the Vikings suspended Peterson, and then they lost a big game and decided that the whole thing was a private family discipline issue, and then the outcry from the public forced them to sideline Peterson for the foreseeable future.
You know all that, and you know that Charles Barkley, former basketball star, defended Peterson, saying he was raised in the same manner, being beaten for infractions. “Whipping — we do that all the time,” Barkley said.
It must work! Charles Barkley grew to be a fine man, a man who once spit on a young girl during a basketball game (he was aiming his expectorant at a man), and a man who was caught driving with his blood-alcohol level at .149, nearly twice the legal limit of .08, in Arizona. His reason, as he told the arresting officer, was that the young lady in the car with him was performing a sex act on him at the time, and he was in a hurry to get to somewhere more private than some side street in Scottsdale.
His parents should stand and take bows for raising such a fine person by beating him.
It's not just that beating a child shows the child that violence is the way to handle a bad situation. Medical science is finding that corporal punishment actually changes the child's brain chemistry, changing the structure and function of the brain. This in turn leads to increased risks of everything from anxiety to suicide.
A 2012 Canadian study says hitting a child can lower both the young person's IQ and the amount of gray matter in the brain. Quoting from Psychology Today, "Gray matter is the connective tissue between brain cells … an integral part of the central nervous system...it influences intelligence testing and learning abilities. It includes areas of the brain involved in sensory perception, speech, muscular control, emotions and memory.”
Time after time, we read that abuse continues through the generations. A child who is beaten by a parent becomes a parent who beats children. And Barkley, Peterson, and William Adams, the Texas judge who beat his daughter with a belt for illegally downloading music off the internet, show why the cycle needs to come to an end.
By the way, Adams's daughter, Hillary, has cerebral palsy. Her father was in drug rehab in the past.
He is back on the bench in the great state of Texas. Ruling on Child Abuse cases.