Tag Archives: minnesota vikings

Media Reacts: NFL’s First Month in 6 Years With No Arrests

by Nicholas Muhl

The first month of the 2015 NFL regular season ended this past weekend. The end of September also marked the first month in 6 years that no NFL player has been arrested.

According to Reuters reporter Mike Rosenberg, the NFL has averaged “an arrest per week” since 2009. Rosenberg also reported that this is the first time in 15 years “the NFL went a calendar month during the season without an arrest.” The league has already had 33 total arrests in 2015, most recently San Fransisco 49ers Linebacker Ahmad Brooks who was charged with sexual battery at the end of August.

Alexandra Sifferlin reported the news for TIME and included a link in his article to USA Today’s NFL arrest archive. The archive contains a complete, descriptive account of a total of 805 NFL player arrests records dating back 15 years to January 24, 2000 when Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith was arrested for allegedly beating and choking his wife. It seems paradoxical that 15 years later we continue to see so many similar headlines. Katie Link and Christian Bryant of the Ventura County Star posed this question about the news of an arrest-free month, “should we view this ‘achievement’ as pathetic, or impressive?” On the other hand, the Dispatch Times referred to it as a “mind-blowing milestone.”  

Since 2009 the NFL has been subject to many media and criminal investigations regarding their many player arrests. Most notably is former New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez who was convicted of murder in April. Hernandez and other high profile players like former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, San Francisco’s Ray MacDonald, Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice, and Viking’s Adrian Peterson have made national headlines and brought up many social issues outside of the sport of football; including rape culture, drug use, animal cruelty, and alcohol and drug abuse. 

The criminal history and violent backgrounds behind many NFL players is not an issue the media has shied away from reporting. However, it is important to note that news of the NFL’s arrest-free month quickly spread on social media, sports blogs and major media conglomerates. This differs from the issue of injuries which I detailed in my article last week, “Protecting the player’s or Protecting the Shield”. Approximately 15 percent of players in the league have experienced an injury this season. While on an individual level this has been heavily reported, injuries and their increasing totals have been a largely avoided issue. However, media and the league did not shy away from making sure (quite literally) that everyone knows it went through an arrest-free month. The NFL and it’s PR department have attempted to put some distance between itself and both the injury and conduct issues the league faces, and will jump at any opportunity they can to make the league look better as it and commissioner Roger Goodell continue to face extreme criticism for the way the league is currently being run. It remains to be seen whether real change is progressing in the league or if this month was merrily a statistical anomaly that further proves the major conduct issues the NFL faces.

Adrian Peterson’s Nike Contract Termination and Media Involvement

By McKenzie Whiteman

Even people who aren’t avid football followers know of the controversy regarding its supposedly “criminal” players. Many of the NFL’s athletes have found themselves in the middle of legal battles, fighting to keep their contracts and reputations. Few, however, are viewed as receiving fair punishment in the eyes of the general public. NFL players, much like any professional athlete, seem to find themselves receiving a slap on the wrist instead of any harsh punishment. Adrian Peterson, however, found yet another blow to his career.

Peterson served as the running back for the Minnesota Vikings since 2007. However, this past year has caused his career to come to a halt. Peterson faced felony charges for child abuse after witnesses say he struck his 4 year-old son with a tree branch. He rejected accusations to a felony charge, but pleaded no contest to reckless assault, a misdemeanor charge, on Tuesday. While the fate of his career is still in debate, Peterson has already lost a major part of his image, and this can partially be attributed to the close eye the media currently has on him.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Nike has recently resigned its contract it held with Peterson. Peterson had rejoined its contract with Nike in 2013, only to be suspended in September. While there are no final comments as to why, one can assume that the legal battle and limited positive exposure he’s recently had may be to blame. While his actions are completely at fault, the media can cause a story to go viral. I’m sure this is what Nike fears the most, and why they ultimately decided to end their partnership with Peterson.

Because Adrian Peterson is the high-profile athlete that he is, any detail of this story is immediately spread. Any result of a legal battle, any opinion that is stated, and any rumor that stirs, is quickly picked up by the media and made available to the public. Because Nike is so reliant on high-profile athletes to market its brand, any threat to the company’s reputation is quickly and aggressively handled. This is exactly what happened in regards to Peterson’s future with the company. Speculation of child abuse already threatened his future with the organization. But after pleading no contest to reckless assault on Tuesday, I’m sure Nike felt as its high-profile reputation didn’t include his persona any longer.

While it’s becoming more and more often that professional athletes are finding themselves in legal troubles, it’s the media that will hurt them in the end. Whether what they report is true or false it affects how the general public views them as ambassadors to their team and sponsors. Companies involved don’t want to be dragged through the self-inflicted troubles that their athletes are going through. The fate of Peterson’s career will be based on how much the NFL and other involved parties are willing to endure the media hits and persona that come along with his charges. Hopefully other athletes take these incidences into consideration before they find themselves in the same predicament.