Orlando Thomas, ex-Minnesota Vikings safety, died on November 10 after a long battle with ALS at the age of 42.
Orlando Thomas was living in his native Crowley, Louisiana, just a half hour west of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette campus where he starred for four seasons before being selected by the Vikings in the second round of the 1995 NFL draft.
He spent all seven of his NFL seasons with the Vikings before retiring after the 2001 campaign at age 29.
Orlando Thomas was a key starter on the Minnesota teams of the late 1990s, including the 1998 group that went 15-1 in the regular season before losing to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game.
Orlando Thomas spent all seven of his NFL seasons with Minnesota Vikings before retiring after the 2001 campaign at age 29 (photo Jonathan Daniel/Allsport)
He led the league with nine interceptions as a rookie.
“The Vikings are deeply saddened by the loss of Orlando Thomas,” the team said in a statement on November 10.
“Orlando was an outstanding player for the Vikings for seven years, but more importantly, he represented the franchise and the state of Minnesota with the utmost dignity and class. While his outgoing personality made him a favorite among his teammates, Orlando’s involvement in the community made him a favorite outside of Winter Park.”
Orlando Thomas is one of several former NFL players affected by ALS, including ex-New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason, ex-Baltimore Ravens linebacker and current front office executive O.J. Brigance, ex-Oakland Raiders fullback Steve Smith and retired journeyman Tim Shaw.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge of recklessly assaulting his four-year-old son.
The NFL star will avoid a jail sentence after reaching a plea agreement with a court in Texas.
Adrian Peterson, who used a wooden implement to discipline his son in the Texas town of Spring in May, was put on probation and fined $4,000.
The player has been on paid leave pending resolution of the case.
He had been facing a possible two years in prison but the judge in Conroe, 40 miles north of Houston, accepted the plea agreement.
Adrian Peterson used a wooden implement to discipline his four-year-old son
Adrian Peterson will also do 80 hours of community service.
He was said to have punished his son after the boy pushed another of his children off a motorbike video game.
The “whooping” – how Adrian Peterson allegedly referred to the incident in a police interview – resulted in cuts and bruises to the boy’s back, buttocks and legs, local media reported.
Adrian Peterson’s defense attorney Rusty Hardin earlier described his client as a “loving father” who had “used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas”.
“It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury,” Rusty Hardin said.
The Minnesota Vikings’ owners announced in a statement to the media that they are following the recommendation of the NFL and placing Adrian Peterson on the exempt / commissioner’s permission list, which bars him from all team activities.
The statement said:
This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday’s news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team’s decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson. In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.
We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization. We embrace our role – and the responsibilities that go with it — as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.
The Minnesota Vikings’ owners placed Adrian Peterson on the exempt list, which bars him from all team activities (photo Wikipedia)
While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community. Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.
We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision.
“This is the best possible outcome given the circumstances,” Adrian Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, told The Associated Press.
“Adrian understands the gravity of the situation and this enables him to take care of his personal situation. We fully support Adrian and he looks forward to watching his teammates and coaches being successful during his absence.”
Shortly after the announcement, Adrian Peterson for the second time in a week responded by tweeting a biblical verse.
Adrian Peterson was charged on September 12 with causing injury to a child age 14 or younger. He allegedly hit one of his sons with a wooden switch while disciplining the boy on or around May 18.
Radisson is suspending its sponsorship of Minnesota Vikings after Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse in Texas.
Adrian Peterson hit his 4-year-old son last May with part of a branch.
The Vikings have reinstated the player after dropping him.
“Radisson is suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances,” the company said.
It added it “takes this matter very seriously, particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children”.
Radisson’s sponsorship includes a banner visible to viewers watching Vikings’ news conferences.
The Minnesota Vikings said it had “respectfully honored Radisson’s request”, a team spokesman said.
Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse after hitting his 4-year-old son with part of a branch
Adrian Peterson stands accused of using part of a tree branch to spank his four-year-old son. The player says he was using a form of discipline his father used on him as a boy.
“I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser,” Adrian Peterson said in a statement.
“I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury.”
The Vikings dropped Adrian Peterson for Sunday’s game but then reinstated him on Monday.
The team’s general manager, Rick Spielman, said: “I understand that this is a very difficult thing to handle. But we also feel strongly as an organization that this is disciplining a child.
“Whether it’s an abusive situation or not, or whether he went too far disciplining, we feel very strongly that that is the court’s decision to make, but we also understand the seriousness of abusing children as well.”
The charges against Adrian Peterson come just days after another NFL star, Ray Rice, had his contract terminated after a video emerged in which he appeared to punch his wife.