Phil Mushnick rips Adrian Peterson’s character in possibly worst column ever

Phil MushnickPhil Mushnick has a reputation for being a pot-stirring columnist, but he hit a new low on Sunday after ripping Adrian Peterson’s character and blaming the running back for allowing his 2-year-old son to be beaten to death.

In a column for the New York Post, Mushnick tried to draw a connection between Peterson and guys like Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Mushnick argued that we have allowed Peterson’s accomplishments on the field to color our perception of his character off the field, much like we did with Tiger and Lance. What evidence did he use? A reckless driving incident and incident at a nightclub where the charges against Peterson for resisting arrest were dropped.

But Peterson’s biggest offense, in Mushnick’s eyes, was playing in the Minnesota Vikings’ game on Sunday, two days after his 2-year-old son died after being beaten.

Here’s what Mushnick wrote:

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Adrian Peterson explains decision to play against Panthers after son’s death

Adrian PetersonMinnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is dealing with an unspeakable tragedy. As most of you know, Peterson’s 2-year-old son was allegedly beaten to death earlier this week. Yet somehow, he has chosen to play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Many have wondered how Peterson can possibly play this week given the emotions he must be experiencing. He explained his decision in a text message to Laura Okmin of FOX Sports on Sunday.

“My brother passed the night before the (NFL Combine) and I decided to go through with it,” Peterson wrote, via FOX Sports’ Mike Garafolo. “The same reason why I will play this week. You may ask why? God wants good to come from it … we mourn and grieve but heaven had the baddest welcoming party for my son. That knowledge gives me peace. I’m still hurt and feel the pain of life, but I’m able to function because of the peace and joy of knowing my loved ones are in a much better place.”

The brother Peterson referred to is his stepbrother, who was shot and killed in Houston in 2007. When AP was only 7 years old, his 9-year-old brother and best friend Brian was killed by a drunken driver as he rode his bicycle.

People grieve in a variety of ways. Peterson is not yet 30 and has already experienced a lifetime of sadness due to the deaths of family members. We hope playing on Sunday can be therapeutic for him in some small way.

Adrian Peterson reportedly never met deceased son

Adrian PetersonAdding more tragedy to an already awful story, we’re learning that the first time Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson saw his deceased 2-year-old son was in the hospital this week.

Peterson left his team to rush to South Dakota this week after learning that his son was in critical condition in the hospital after being beaten. TMZ says that Thursday was the first time Peterson saw his son. The young boy reportedly was on life support at the time and died on Friday.

[Related: Peterson receives support from players after son's death]

According to TMZ, Peterson only recently learned that he was the father of the child. The mother of the boy reportedly had an ex whom she suspected was the father. She had him take a paternity test, but it turned up negative. The woman then went to Peterson, with whom she had a sexual encounter a few years ago, and Peterson reportedly offered to help the situation.

Peterson is said to have been very involved since learning of the tragedy.

Adrian Peterson receives support from players after son’s tragic death

Adrian PetersonAdrian Peterson’s 2-year-old died on Friday, less than two days after he was taken to the hospital after allegedly being severely beaten by the man dating the child’s mother.

The death is just an absolutely terrible tragedy. The $750,000 bond for the suspect, Joseph Patterson, doesn’t seem like enough.

We and many others have shared our sympathies and thoughts with the Minnesota Vikings running back, who has said he will still play on Sunday despite what has transpired. But the well wishes of his fellow players probably mean the most to Peterson at this time. Amid all the terrible things going on, he (or one of his representatives) tweeted to express appreciation for the support:

Below are some of the tweets sent out in support of Peterson from teams and individuals:

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Adrian Peterson will play Sunday, asks for privacy with alleged incident involving son

Adrian PetersonMinnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said on Friday that he fully expects to play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Peterson has been dealing with what sounds like a family tragedy over the past couple of days, as his 2-year-old son was reportedly beaten by the boyfriend of the child’s mother and is in critical condition.

“I really appreciate all the support from fans and the Vikings,” Peterson said after Friday’s practice, per Sean Jensen of the Pioneer Press. “I ask y’all respect my privacy.”

When asked about his status for Sunday, Peterson said he will “without a doubt” be playing and added that he will be “focused” and “ready to roll.”

“I’m able to release a lot of stress through sports,” he said.

One of Peterson’s sons, 2-year-old Adrian Jr., has become a popular face around the Vikings’ facility during training camp. A number of photos have been taken of the two goofing around at practice, and it was initially believed that Adrian Jr. was the victim. It was later reported that the son who is in critical condition is not Adrian Jr., which led to speculation that Peterson is not related to the boy.

However, Peterson’s father Nelson Peterson confirmed in a phone interview with the Pioneer Press that the injured boy is indeed his grandson.

“All I can say is, we are asking for prayers and for respect for our family as we deal with this tragic situation,” Nelson Peterson said.

It is possible that the victim is a son of Peterson’s that the public was unaware he had.

The turn of events is a disturbing tragedy no matter what Peterson’s relationship is to the boy. To think that a grown man could do something like that to an innocent child is truly sickening.

Adrian Peterson’s 2-year-old son reportedly in critical condition after being beaten

Adrian-Peterson-Wants-to-Play-for-Fantasy-OwnersUPDATE: Police have confirmed that Peterson’s son has died. What an unspeakable tragedy.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s 2-year-old son is reportedly in critical condition at a South Dakota hospital after he was allegedly beaten. According to the Argus Leader, police have arrested 27-year-old Joseph Robert Patterson and charged him with aggravated assault and aggravated battery of an infant. Patterson is said to be dating the mother of Peterson’s son.

Initial reports only specified that Patterson was arrested for his alleged abuse of a 2-year-old infant. TMZ later reported that the boy who suffered the injuries is Peterson’s son.

Sioux Falls Police Lt. Blaine Larsen said that Patterson was the only one home with the boy on Wednesday when the incident took place. Patterson reportedly called the police at 5:34 p.m. to report that the child had choking injuries. The infant was taken to a hospital by ambulance, and police later determined that the injuries were “consistent with abuse” and not accidental. Law enforcement officials reportedly told TMZ that the child suffered severe head injuries.

“Sometimes, it ends up there was a crime that took place. Sometimes not,” police spokesman Sam Clemens said on Thursday. “(We’re) just trying to talk to people that are involved. Just trying to figure out what happened; that’s the big part, I guess.”

Peterson’s son was reportedly living in Sioux Falls with the boy’s mother and Patterson.

This story legitimately makes me sick to my stomach. Our thoughts are with Peterson and his family during this inexplicably difficult time.

UPDATE (11:35 a.m.): Pro Football Talk reported that Peterson returned to the Vikings’ team facility on Friday morning after dealing with a situation sources described as “tragic.” City Pages has cited sources claiming the Sioux Falls boy who was beaten is not Peterson’s son. We should know more later today when AP speaks to the media.

UPDATE (12:07 p.m.): Citing a source close to Peterson, Pro Football Talk has reported that the injured child is indeed Peterson’s son. Sean Jensen of the Pioneer Press says Peterson’s father confirmed the victim was one of Adrian’s sons, though it was not Adrian Jr, whose photo was shown on a previous version of this post.

UPDATE (2:30PM): Peterson says he will play Sunday and has asked that the media respect his family’s privacy during this time.

Photo: SI’s Andy Gray

Cleveland DT Phil Taylor calls out Adrian Peterson for tweet about losing to Browns

After the Minnesota Vikings were shocked by the Cleveland Browns and backup quarterback Brian Hoyer in Minneapolis on Sunday, Adrian Peterson sent out a pretty humorous tweet.

Adrian-Peterson-Wants-to-Play-for-Fantasy-OwnersBrowns nose tackle Phil Taylor did not find it funny. The former Baylor star was proud of the job his defense did in keeping Peterson in check. AP was held to just 88 yards on 25 carries, which works out to 3.5 yards per carry. That’s nothing special for a guy who fell just barely short of breaking the NFL’s single-season rushing record last year.

“We knew playing against the Vikings would be a good test for us, having Adrian Peterson,” Taylor told reporters on Monday, via the Akron Beacon Journal. “We showed what type of defense we’re about. But obviously we still don’t get the respect that we deserve, so we have to keep going out there and doing what we’ve got to do.

“He can say what he wants, but he wasn’t a factor in the game. He had less than 100 yards. The only reason they really scored, they got the ball on the 9, they got the ball on the 26, other than that, it wasn’t really a big game [for their offense].”

You can’t blame Taylor for being upset. Peterson’s tweet was funny because it shows that even his little girl thought the Browns stood no chance against Minnesota. After Cleveland dealt Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts, most people believed the Browns were going to tank the season for a top draft pick. That may be the front office’s plan, but the players don’t intend to make it that simple.