Welcome to SportsGrid’s Tuesday feature, “Shut Up,” (pronounced: “shut up… comma”) where we add a name after the comma, telling that person to stop saying words, because they’re being stupid. This week, that person is a man who gets paid to be a cranky asshole.
If you don’t know New York Post “sports media columnist” Phil Mushnick, good for you. He is basically a paid troll who points out harmless mistakes in sports broadcasts and occasionally harps on one and sermonizes angrily on a non-issue. He also gets money to say things like “the Brooklyn Nets should be called the New York N—-s” and complain about Dunk City’s fun-having. What I assume happens is that he thinks of the most racist response to a hot topic in the sports world, writes it down, and then editors tone it down as much as possible, yet the ensuing product still remains awful with plentiful racial undertones.
But Mushnick’s latest column may have been his worst: He wrote a column shitting on Adrian Peterson right after his son died. Not only were did his complaints not warrant a column during happy times, but he fucking wrote this immediately after the tragedy.
“Being a great player doesn’t make Peterson a great guy”
No fucking shit it doesn’t. But why are you even discussing this? Why is this a headline in the wake of tragedy? Yes, sportswriters are often guilty of this, but why are you bringing this up now? And you better be convincing if you really felt the pressing need to bring this up now.
We in the media — especially those working event broadcasts — have a horrible habit of blindly or wishfully reporting great achievers are additionally blessed: They’re great humans.
Sure. Everyone knows this. You gonna bring up the awful tragedy?
Among many others, we did it with Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Last year, we began to do it with Adrian Peterson, before, and then after, he was selected the NFL’s MVP. With every big game — 2,037 running yards worth — the media bloated his profile: There runs Superman, a super guy, too.
Tiger Woods: serial adulterer. Lance Armstrong: cheating, bullying liar. Adrian Peterson: what, exactly?
“We talked with him after practice, and let me tell you this and that about Adrian Peterson.” “Adrian Peterson still finds time to do charity work in the Twin Cities area.” Blah, blah and blah. Good equals goodness.
Oh, he does charity work. I totally see where you’re going, Phil.
Thus it was unsurprising Peterson’s downside went ignored. In 2009, he was busted for driving 109 mph in a 55 mph zone. He dismissed that as no big deal, which was doubly disturbing — his older, full brother was killed by a reckless driver.
Oh, the incident that was reported by ESPN was ignored? Just because you forgot, and typed “how can i make black man adrian petersen look badly in colum” and this came up, doesn’t mean that his “downside went ignored.” Adrian Peterson fucked up as a 24-year-old. He sped. That’s dumb. He shouldn’t have done that. He got let off pretty easy. Was that entirely fair? No. But it’s not unique to Peterson. Not even close. And he fucked up four years ago. I can list off dozens of my friends who have made the same mistake. They all can be stupid, but they’re not bad people. And when bad things happen to them, I don’t go back four years into their past, and immediately bring back one mistake they made.
Oh, Billy, your mom is in the hospital? Well, remember that time in eighth grade when I laughed at you and you told me to shut the fuck up? WELL YOU’RE THE FUCKING WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD AND I HOPE YOUR MOM IS FEELING PAIN.
Last summer, Peterson was in a club when he and friends were informed that it was closing time, past 2 a.m. Apparently, Peterson and pals felt they would decide when it was time to close. The police report noted three cops were needed to subdue Peterson. He would have needed three cops to subdue him if he merely challenged them to a thumb war.
He spent the rest of the night in jail, arrested for resisting arrest (a charge that was later dismissed).
Oh, so a guy who apparently doesn’t drink often got frustrated, while really drunk, at a club, and got aggressive when told to leave. WOW JUST PUT THIS GUY IN A MENTAL INSTITUTION ALREADY. Again, I don’t need to convince reasonable people of this, but I’m sure we have all witnessed similar situations. Dumb? Sure. But it’s ONE FUCKING MINOR INCIDENT WHILE DRUNK. And you know why three cops were needed to subdue him? Because he’s fucking Adrian Peterson.
Of course, we all have to operate from are our own set of values, our personal sense of right from wrong. Perhaps, given current standards among NFL players — mostly college men, no less — Peterson qualifies as a man of good character.
Oh, so “college men” never speed or get too drunk and get aggressive. I suppose my entire college experience was a dream.
Still, I’m stuck with what I’ve got. And it’s sickening the NFL’s latest MVP, hours after his son died — allegedly murdered — declared he was “ready to roll,” ready to play football.
Me? I’d be fighting for breath, my knees weak with grief, demanding to know why, who, how. Then, I suspect, I’d seethe with rage, swearing retribution. I even think I’d take off a day or two from work. Maybe a week.
And here’s the most sickening part of this scummy column. A fucking sports media columnist telling a human how to grieve. He criticizes Peterson, because he even thinks he’d “take off a day or two from work. Maybe a week.” Peterson played two days after the death. So Phil Mushnick is that fucking pissed that he might have taken a few more days off? When is it right to go back, Phil? Two days is so soon you have to write a column demonizing a grieving man, but if it were thirteen days, he’d be a hero? And the fact that he’s playing means that he’s not “weak with grief?”
Here was Peterson’s statement on why he played, for the record.
My brother passed the night before the combine and I decided to go through with it. The same reason why I will play this week. You may ask why? God wants good to come from it… We mourn and grieve but heaven had the baddest welcoming party for my son. That knowledge gives me peace. I’m still hurt and feel the pain of life, but I’m able to function because of the peace and joy of knowing my loved ones are in a much better place.
I just wasted a lot of time and energy telling Phil Mushnick to shut up, but I think Peterson’s statement does it more effectively. We wish you the best, Adrian Peterson, and we wish you the worst, Phil Mushnick. Go write about how Chris Collinsworth stuttered at 4:32 in the third quarter and leave us all alone.