COMMENTARY: How Black Men Cope: Was Peterson Right to Play After Losing Son?

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It was good to see all of the Twitter comments from folks who supported Peterson, but there were some who questioned why he would play football just two days after his son died.

In fact, Phil Mushnick, a columnist with The New York Post, said Peterson is improperly mourning his dead son.

“The suspect in the beating murder of Peterson’s 2-year-old is the boyfriend of Peterson’s “baby mama” — now the casual, flippant, detestable and common buzz-phrase for absentee, wham-bam fatherhood,” … Mushnick wrote.

“Money can’t buy love,” he wrote, “but having signed a $96 million deal, he could not have provided his child — apparently his second from a “baby mama” — a safe home?”

This assumption is ridiculous and Mushnick didn’t bother to do his homework. Mushnick’s assertions also fall into a predicable mentality: Vilifying a black male athlete because it’s easy. Mushnick is long on stereotypes and short on facts.

How could Peterson have known to provide a safe home for the boy when he didn’t even know the child existed?

Peterson reportedly only recently learned he was the father of the child and met him for the first time last week while the boy was on life support, TMZ reports.

The child did not carry Peterson’s name, according to published reports and The Daily News says that Peterson, who is not married, has another son about the same age named Adrian Peterson Jr., and a daughter, Adeja, with a different woman – children Peterson is providing for.

Peterson has experienced more than his fair share of tragedy in life and was forced to handle serious setbacks even as a youngster.

When he was 7, Peterson watched his older brother die in a bike accident when he was hit by a drunken driver. Growing up poor in east Texas, Peterson’s father was sent to prison for drug dealing and during Peterson’s teenage years, Peterson’s half-brother was shot and killed.

So throughout his life, Peterson has turned to football to help ease emotional tension and relieve stress. He didn’t have a father in his life to counsel him about how to deal with emotional distress so he did what came natural.

“He’s a wonderful human being,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who coached Peterson in college, told reporters. “He’s a very faithful, strong, Christian guy that we all dearly, we all love him. We’re all there for him. Incredibly tragic event. He’s a great a kid, a great man, a great kid when I had him.”

Next week, Peterson will strap on his shoulder pads, lace up his cleats, and face-off against the New York Giants, who are 0-6. Peterson should have good day on the field as he attempts, perhaps, to put the pain of his dead son behind him by looking forward – toward the end zone.

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