A few weeks ago, Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson was widely considered the best running back in the NFL, with his only concern being performing on offense. Fast forward to last week, and the rest of Peterson’s career is in severe doubt.

Peterson has been charged with child abuse, as there is evidence to suggest that he disciplined his child with a switch, or thin tree branch. The NFL, which has been rocked with scandals lately, decided that it would be a good idea to take a closer look into the matter, prompting the Vikings to suspend Peterson indefinitely (or until the case is resolved by the legal system).

This has caused speculation that Peterson’s time with the Vikings is over, and that it is time to move on. Indeed, Mike Florio, a sportswriter for the website ProFootballTalk, went as far as to say that “it’s now likely that Peterson will never wear a Vikings uniform again” and “after the season ends, the Vikings will move on.”

Such thinking has caused some shock amongst fans of the game, as it’s not very often that a player of Peterson’s caliber may be released.  However, the writing has been on the wall ever since former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice’s highly publicized discharge from the team for abusing his then-fiancée. The message that the league is trying to get across is clear: If you are involved in any sort of domestic violence, you will pay the consequences, and your career will likely be in jeopardy.

All of this has been brought about by a recent series of reports alleging that certain NFL players had been violent toward their family in different ways, starting with Rice, and continuing with Peterson. The public has responded negatively to these allegations, forcing the NFL to take action for the sake of retaining the support of its fans. The public outcry became so loud once the dramatic tape of Rice knocking his fiancée out became public that the NFL changed its domestic violence policy: For a first offense, the player will be banned for six games; for a second offense, he will be banned for life.

This represents a serious change from the way in which matters used to be handled, as they were done on a case-by-case basis. For example, depending on the situation, a player could be held out for a few games, a few months or even avoid punishment altogether.  However, it has become clear that football fans will not stand for such things, and the NFL is listening.

In related news, Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was recently arrested on domestic violence charges, stemming from a July case in which he head butted his wife. Instead of the waffling back and forth that the Vikings and Ravens did with their players, the Cardinals immediately put Dwyer on the non-football injury reserve list, a place set aside for players who aren’t allowed on the team for various reasons. If this swift reaction isn’t a perfect example of the way things are going, I don’t know what is.

Changes are coming to the NFL, and they seem to be for the better.

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