On Peterson’s suspension

Gary Burgess Sr., Anderson County Board of Education, South Carolina

The decision by the NFL to suspend Adrian Peterson for the duration of the football season should have African-American parents across the nation concerned. Let me state empathically before I go any further — I am not a fan of football, nor did I know of Adrian Peterson before this bogus criminal charge was brought against him.

I know we, African-Americans, are not a monolithic group, particularly when it comes to rearing our children. However, I do not believe Peterson intended to hurt his child. I do not believe Peterson is a criminal. I do not believe he committed reckless assault. I do not believe his son has suffered permanent emotional damage. Peterson unintentionally went too far in correcting his son, but he is no criminal.

It is time for black families, those organizations representing black families and organizations representing families in general to speak up against this criminalization of black men who are rearing their children.

I was reared by parents, and in an extended family, that did not spare the rod. As a result of that, I am a productive citizen of this country. I am not psychologically damaged. This is what my parents knew, and this is what I know as a parent.

If we do not discipline our sons, the police will jail them and kill them in the street. When the cops kill our boys, it’s considered lawful; when we discipline them, it’s considered a crime. Discipline in the home will do more to keep our young black men out of the prison system than any government program. We need to involve them with men, we need to ensure they are involved in houses of faith — we need to mentor our sons.

I do not need the government telling me how to rear my children. Child rearing is the responsibility of the home. I am disgusted, sick, tired and upset with the government interfering with our families. Uncle Sam needs to defend the nation. I will defend my home, and the best way to defend my home and to secure a future for my family is to discipline my sons.