by Carl E. Olson | CWR Blog
When men fail to take responsibility for their actions, the most vulnerable usually pay the heavy cost
When I first saw headlines last week about the death of NFL's star Adrian Peterson's young son, I was shocked. And then I was confused.
Shocked, because the two-year-old boy, Ty, had been viciously beaten by a man apparently responsible for watching the child. It was an act of evil, pure and simple. Confused, because the relationships between the various parties was not clear. Quite the contrary.
Joseph Patterson, the man since charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery of an infant and aggravated assault domestic, was the live-in boyfriend of Ty's mother. They lived in South Dakota; Peterson, of course, lives in Minnesota, where he is the record-chasing running back for the Vikings.
Had Peterson been married to the mother? No. Peterson has never been married. In fact, it turns out that Peterson was not even aware of the boy's existence until a couple of months ago, and he had not seen Ty in person prior to the beating. Peterson, however, is engaged, and he has two children living with him, one of whom is also two years old, according to the New York Times. And:
Peterson said he offered financial support for Ty and Ty’s mother after he learned he was the boy’s father. He was arranging to go to Sioux Falls when the boy was injured on Oct. 9. Peterson skipped practice on Oct. 10 to visit Ty in the hospital, the only time he saw him alive. The next day, with Peterson back at practice, Ty died after he was taken off life support.
The various stories posted on ESPN.com and other sports-related sites provided the basic facts of the story as they came available, but the focus of many pieces—and especially of television commentary—was on whether or not Peterson would play in the Vikings' next game. And, if so, how would he do? And so forth. Among the most interesting set of quotes were these, in the Times story: