Now we know why Rusty Hardin gets the big bucks. He doesn’t mess around. His defense of new client Adrian Peterson has already begun, and clearly this defense is less about whatever might happen to Peterson in court and more about protecting his public image. To those who may be wavering in their opinion of Peterson, Hardin has this to say via official statement (credit Josina Anderson):
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. 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. 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. Adrian is extremely upset about these false allegations. 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.
Hardin’s version of events directly contradicts several statements made both by the police and the general manager of Live! at Bayou Place. Most importantly, Hardin says Peterson was only in the club 30 to 40 minutes and was nice to everyone, while the club says Peterson was in there all night and was a problem the whole time he was there. Also, that whole thing about the off-duty cop slapping Peterson for no reason? That was mysteriously totally left out of the police statement.
The cops also neglected to mention a little detail dropped by Peterson’s father Nelson earlier today: that Adrian was spoken to in a vulgar, disrespectful way by the officer and suffered a black eye when being pushed to the ground.
Significantly, Hardin does not speak to the question of whether Adrian was aware the security guy who was confronting him or whom he was confronting, depending on which version of the story you care to believe, was in fact a cop. The police have stated the officer did identify himself as an officer, and that Peterson was unimpressed by this and resisted him anyway.
So, from cobbling together all these different stories, we have these two possibilities: Either Adrian Peterson spent a whole evening getting drunk at a bar and became belligerent and went after a cop who was then forced to arrest him, or Adrian Peterson spent a short time at a bar and was attacked by a police officer for no reason. I guess it’s down to which version you care to believe. And this will continue to be the case until some concrete evidence surfaces that settles the question once and for all. Though, when it comes to whether Adrian was in fact intoxicated at the time of the incident, it has to be said that the mugshot doesn’t do him any favors.
At the very least, we now know why Adrian hired Rusty Hardin. Rusty goes after PR problems like Adrian goes after in-the-box safeties.