Schein on Sports: Week in review and a weekend preview (9/15-9/19)

Everything you need to know heading into the weekend in the world of sports.

Pop. Sizzle.

Last week was one of the ugliest weeks in NFL history. Between the Ray Rice scandal and the ongoing debate regarding whether Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald should be allowed to play while their legal situations were up in the air, the black cloud hovering over the NFL was already big enough.

Then, late Friday afternoon, another bombshell broke: MyFox Houston reported that Vikings All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson had been indicted on child abuse charges for allegedly abusing his four-year-old son.

By now, you’ve probably heard the horrible details of this case, and you’ve probably seen the disturbing photos, so I will spare you the details (click the link above if you need a refresher). The Vikings smartly deactivated Peterson for last Sunday’s game against the Patriots, a 30-7 loss where they struggled to get into any sort of offensive rhythm. Common sense would tell you that just a few short days after one of the biggest off-the-field NFL controversies ever, the Vikings would continue to hold out Peterson until the dust settled. But that would not be the case.

I understand that the NFL is a results-driven business, and that the livelihood of the players, coaches and management depends on the team’s win-loss record, but come on! How can you read that police report on Friday, deactivate Peterson for Sunday’s game, and then decide on Monday that you’re doing the right thing by activating him?

We learned on Monday that Peterson was accused of a second count of child abuse, that the Vikings knew about this, and they still reinstated him. It appears that the only thing the Vikings were interested in was getting their best player back on the field. Doing the right thing be damned! The Vikings didn’t listen to the outrage from the fanbase, the general public or previous abuse victims; would they cave in to pressure from sponsors?

Ah, the classic “send out a press release in the middle of the night” play, announcing Peterson would be placed on the exempt/commissioner’s list.

Of course, it helped that long-time Vikings sponsor Radisson pulled their support. Other big-time NFL sponsors let the league know that they weren’t happy. And the Governor of Minnesota called for the Vikings to sit Peterson. (It’s worth mentioning that the city and state are chipping in almost $500 million for the new Vikings stadium currently under construction.)

The Vikings caved into public pressure from their sponsors and finally started doing the right thing. Surely, owner Zygi Wilf would meet the media and explain the team’s actions the previous days, right?

Are you kidding? Zygi Wilf, the owner of the team, reads a prepared statement for less than two minutes, and then bails on the press conference? (You can watch the entire press conference here.) Zygi Wilf claims that they took the sponsors into account, only for Mark Wilf to deny that the sponsors had anything to do with the decision two minutes later (in front of a brand new banner that didn’t have the Radisson logo on it). Everyone that spoke at the Vikings press conference repeatedly uttered the phrase, “do the right thing” … which they ultimately did, but the way they got there was completely ridiculous.

The press conference was a debacle, and so was how the Vikings handled this entire situation. Just like with Rice and the NFL last week, the story became less about the heinous crime, and more about how poorly it was handled from a public relations perspective as the week dragged on.

Underrated story of the week

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston made the news again this week, for all the wrong reasons, when he shouted something sexually explicit on the FSU campus. Students and faculty saw this, and the incident hit social media almost instantaneously.

The Seminoles, who have previously made winning football games a higher priority than disciplining their star athlete, slapped the Heisman Trophy winner on the wrist, suspending Winston for the first half of this weekend’s game against Clemson. Throughout his tenure at FSU, Winston has shown poor judgment and a lack of maturity, but Jimbo Fisher and his staff decided that missing the first half of an important conference game is sufficient punishment. Winston is a great football player, but this type of coddling of star athletes is part of the reason why there have been as many issues as we’ve had in sports over the last few weeks.

GIF of the week

Adam Jones

The Baltimore Orioles won their first AL East title in 17 years, and the O’s and their fans celebrated long into the night. Adam Jones got the diehard fans involved with a few good old-fashioned pies to the face.

I’ve never gotten hit in the face with a pie, but I would imagine that its a lot of fun when you’ve already had a couple beers and your team just punched their ticket to October.

What to watch for this weekend

Week 3 of the NFL is here! Among the better games on the schedule for this Sunday:

  • DeSean Jackson makes his much-anticipated return to the city of Brotherly Love as the Redskins take on the Eagles at The Linc. Jackson suffered a shoulder injury during last week’s home opener against Jacksonville, but he’s already told the media that he doesn’t plan on missing this game after the Eagles cut him earlier this year.
  • The Vikings, minus Adrian Peterson, travel to New Orleans to face a desperate 0-2 Saints team. The Saints, considered by many to be a Super Bowl favorite before the season, have dropped their first two games to Atlanta and Cleveland.
  • If you couldn’t get enough of the Seahawks during their 43-8 blowout of the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, the rematch takes place late Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. After a tough loss in San Diego last week, the defending champs will have their hands full against a motivated Denver team looking to stay unbeaten.

There’s also plenty of college football on Saturday, highlighted by No. 1 Florida State taking on No. 22 Clemson.

You can follow Adam Schein, Nick Kostos, & Jared Moore on Twitter to keep track of the latest with the Schein on Sports crew!

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