Just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse …

Here we go again.

I’m beginning to wonder if it’s ever going to end.

It’s bad enough that there are past and present NFL players who are alleged murderers (and another who obstructed a homicide investigation) and rapists, wife beaters, dog killers, bullies, drug abusers and alcoholics, among other terrible things.

Now, we get to add a child abuser to that list of shame, although I’m positive there are other kids who have been and are being beaten because this IS the NFL we’re talking about, where — apparently — it’s case after case of ANYTHING GOES.

Is nothing sacred anymore?!

Those of us who are rabid fans (myself included) root for and against these guys on Sundays, Mondays and yes, even Thursdays. Lately, however, there has been little to cheer about ON the field because of what continues to go on and on and on OFF of it.

By now, we’ve all seen the video aired by TMZ on Monday of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiance Janay Palmer Rice out cold in an elevator of a New Jersey casino — which recently went out of business — back in February.

The NFL initially had suspended Rice for two games until the whole world watched the video that few had been privy to in its entirety up until Monday. The only version we saw prior to that was of him dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator. The Ravens swiftly terminated his contract and the NFL subsequently suspended him indefinitely Monday.

Interestingly enough, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, who has been convicted on two counts of domestic violence, and San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald, who is being investigated for abuse allegations, still are playing.

A mere four days later — Friday — we found out Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been charged for injury to a child — his 4-year-old son — after being indicted by a Montgomery County, Texas, grand jury on Thursday. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, obviously, and the Vikes deactivated him for their game against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

I was devastated by the pictures that I saw of his child posted on Facebook. It reminded me way too much of a child-abuse case I covered during my short-lived days as a cops and courts reporter many moons ago, and resulted in me abruptly quitting because I just couldn’t handle the horror of it. My heart breaks for him. And no, I’m not going to share the photos because I think that little boy has suffered enough at the hands of his own father.

You’d think Peterson would know better after his 2-year-old son that he only knew about for a few weeks but never met died Oct. 11, 2013, after succumbing to injuries he allegedly sustained at the hands of Joseph Robert Patterson, the mother’s boyfriend at the time. Patterson was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, aggravated battery of an infant and abuse or cruelty of a minor and since has been arrested again after allegedly kidnapping and assaulting the boy’s mother in June while he was out on bond.

Peterson, meanwhile, allegedly used a switch/tree branch and possibly an extension cord of some sort on two separate occasions in May that left cuts and bruises on his child’s back, bum, legs, ankles and even his scrotum, as well as defensive wounds on his hands. To paraphrase what he told law enforcement, he admitted to hitting his son 10 to 15 times with the switch, but was unsure of the exact number because he said he doesn’t keep count when he’s doling out physical punishment to his children. Now, take into consideration that Peterson also is far stronger than the average adult male.

Let that sink in for a moment.

There’s a difference between discipline and abuse, and Peterson crossed the line. Simple as that.

There’s more to the story, though. Much more. But I’ll let you read it for yourselves.

UPDATED: EXCLUSIVE Details On Adrian Peterson Indictment Charges

I’ll be the first to admit that I spank my son on his bum when timeout and taking his privileges away don’t work, however, I only use my hand. There’s a HUGE difference between a simple spanking and an outright beating. Criticize me all you want, but I’m not going to let him run wild and be disrespectful like the majority of kids nowadays. We ARE their parents, after all, and it is our duty to set boundaries and guidelines for them to follow.

Disciplining them doesn’t mean we love them any less. If I didn’t love my son, I wouldn’t give a damn what he said or did. But I do, and he knows it because I tell him often. Just like I’ve told him there is a consequence for every action, be it good or bad. We have a lot of “talks,” which I think is most important because people do so little of it in this very “unsocial” age of technology in which people have minimal or no actual human interaction whatsoever as a result of all the screens they shove in their faces 24/7.

And believe me when I say that there are plenty of parents out there who COULD care less.

But I digress …

Anyway, as a kid, I had wooden spoons and switches used on my bum and often got my father’s belt to my bare legs, not to mention more than my fair share of stinging slaps across the face that were so hard they brought tears to my eyes. But just because all those things were done to me doesn’t mean I think it’s OK to do it to my own child. There are some lines you just don’t cross.

It will be interesting to see how the NFL reacts to this newest blight on its rapidly tarnishing image after dropping the ball in the Ray Rice case and denying that it had seen the tape in its entirety, despite reports stating law enforcement did, indeed, send it to a league executive back in April.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn%3A11504461

Everyone failed Janay Palmer Rice, especially the NFL for trying to sweep it under the rug to protect its craptastic image. The only silver lining for her right now is that the public scrutiny she has been subjected to all week long suddenly has shifted, for the most part, to Peterson and, unfortunately, his son.

Fingers crossed that they get it right this time, that a 4-year-old boy gets justice and that the NFL scraps all of its laughable punishments for an across-the-board “NO TOLERANCE” policy that will rid the league of all the shit that’s stinking it up.

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