Adrian Peterson opens up, speaks candidly about death of son, tabloid reports
In comments made to the assembled media on Thursday at Winter Park, the Minnesota Vikings practice facility, running back Adrian Peterson addressed not only the death of his two-year-old son in South Dakota last week but also about the apparently ongoing and severely unflattering developments being covered by tabloids and elsewhere regarding allegations that he has fathered seven children with several different women.
Peterson was excused from Vikings team activities on Wednesday for “personal reasons,” and revealed to the media on Thursday that it was so he could attend the funeral of his slain son, a child he admits he did not know about until just recently.
Peterson insisted that dealing with such heavy scrutiny of his personal life does not trouble him.
“Not at all. People are going to speculate and say this and that. I can’t let that bother me. I’ve been too focused on trying to mourn and be there for his mother and take in the loss of my son,” Peterson said. “I haven’t been able to focus on anything else outside of that.”
When discussing his slain son, Peterson was up front and honest.
“It’s an unfortunate situation and I can speak on it,” Peterson said. “But, yeah, I found out recently that it was my son, like two months ago. I was planning on seeing him and I had talked with his mom and had gotten some things together as far as financially helping her. Unfortunately, this situation took place and it’s devastating. A lot of people won’t ever understand the situation that I am in, to see it the way I’m seeing the situation. It’s tough, but I’m able to deal with that. I got a good supporting cast around me that has been supporting me at this tough time.”
Asked if he believes the controversy, allegations and tragedy currently consuming his personal life will have any effect on his play, Peterson appeared to indicate that he did not think that would be the case.
“When trials come in life, you can do two things. You can let it beat you up and hold you down or you can find good from it and become stronger. That’s the way I’ve always approached tragic events and adversity in my life. So i don’t see myself going downhill. I see myself improving from this.”
When asked how he is holding up overall, Peterson admitted that while it’s a tough situation, he will persevere and get through it.
“I’m standing strong, I am,” Peterson said. “My main focus has been on my son and his mother and their family down there in Sioux Falls. I’ve just been trying to wrap my head around things and try to stay focused and play ball as well. Things have been tough, but I can handle a lot. Like I said, I’m built for anything that comes my way. This right here will pass.”
Many things have been written about the tragedy of Peterson’s two-year-old son being murdered and how he has responded to it. Some have been thoughtful, insightful and intelligent. Others, not so much (see here and here).
In the end, how one chooses to judge Peterson in light of how he has conducted himself in his personal life — especially in light of recent developments and allegations — is subject to each individual’s interpretation according to their personal beliefs, morals and values, among other things. But ultimately, it is Peterson’s life, after all, and it’s up to him how he chooses to live it, the manner in which he deals with troubles, tragedies and personal struggles — whether caused by his actions or external forces beyond his control — and how he carries himself in his personal life, whether we agree with how he goes about it or not.
Video of Peterson’s comments is available at the Access Vikings blog on StarTribune.com.