When the news came down on Saturday afternoon that Minnesota Vikings running back and Houston resident Adrian Peterson had been arrested for resisting arrest at a club at Bayou Place after hours, the Internet did what the Internet does. Half of everyone with an opinion went with the "Spoiled athlete. Probably deserved it. Thug!" response. The other half went with "I'll bet this never would have happened if Jacob Hester was the running back in that club!" outcry.
The truth probably doesn't rest in either of these extremes, but certainly lies closer to one than the other. The things we know at this point, if we are to believe the police report (courtesy of ESPN.com):
Houston Police Department spokesperson Kese Smith said Peterson was at a downtown nightclub early Saturday morning when an off-duty Houston police officer working security asked Peterson and a group of people he was with to leave because the club had closed.
Smith said the man identified himself as a police officer. The officer left to tell other patrons to leave the club before returning to Peterson's group again to tell it to leave.
Smith said Peterson turned around and told the officer that he heard him the first time and pushed the officer in the shoulder, causing him to stumble. The officer told Peterson he was under arrest and to put his hands behind his back. Peterson began yelling, pulled away and "assumed an aggressive stance," so another off-duty officer came to help. Peterson continued to struggle with both, according to Smith.
The 27-year-old player finally was handcuffed with the help of a third off-duty officer, Smith said. Peterson complained of shortness of breath after he was taken to a Houston jail and was examined by Houston Fire Department personnel, who said he was OK.
Everyone seems to be in agreement on the beginning and the end of that blockquote. It's the part in bold where the stories diverge. You know, the whole part that is the answer to "What the hell happened out there?!?"
At one point on Saturday, we were promised video footage from the club that would show us the truth, but unfortunately all we got was this chaotic iPhone video that looks like it was shot during the aftershock of an earthquake:
Despite the huge circus-like red arrow letting us know that the large black man in handcuffs was Adrian Peterson (thanks, TMZ!), we learned nothing from that.
Peterson took to Twitter over the weekend, asking everyone to pump the brakes and wait for the truth to come out. And just when we thought that this arrest and subsequent
slap on the wrist punishment would die down and fade away...
(Going into Jim Ross mode...)
...GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! THAT'S RUSTY HARDIN'S THEME MUSIC!!
That's right, fresh off of his resounding thumping of the federal government in the Roger Clemens perjury trial, Rusty Hardin is back, hired by Peterson to defend him and restore his innocence.
Hardin came out guns a-blazing today with this statement on what exactly went down on Saturday morning:
"Adrian Peterson did not resist arrest this past Saturday morning and any suggestion that he pushed, struck or shoved a Houston Police Officer is a total fabrication," Hardin, hired as Peterson's defense attorney, said in a statement Monday afternoon. "He, in fact, was struck at least twice in the face for absolutely no legitimate reason, and when all the evidence is impartially reviewed, it will clearly show Adrian was the victim, not the aggressor."
"We have been investigating what happened since Saturday afternoon, and it is absolutely clear to me that the charges should not have been filed, and the Bayou Club owes Adrian an apology for having put out a totally false version of what happened," Hardin said. "Adrian Peterson does not act the way he has been described in the initial reports, and he did not act that way Saturday morning. He was only in that club for 30 to 40 minutes, was never objectionable to other patrons, and never physically resisted any police officer."
And finally this:
"Adrian is extremely upset about these false allegations," Hardin said. "These charges are totally at odds with the way he has conducted himself throughout his career, and he asks that his fans and the public at large reserve judgment until they hear all the facts. Adrian looks forward to his day in court."
As do we, Rusty!
With the Clemens allegations and subsequent trial lasting for almost four years, Rusty Hardin had become a fixture in our daily lives. Thankfully, our Hardin-less world ends up only lasting a few weeks. He is BACK, ladies and gentlemen! The legal world's answer to Winston Wolf, the legal smart bomb, Rusty Hardin!
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Adrian Peterson may have been messing around on Saturday night, but he's clearly not messing around with his legal defense.
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