Why hire Rusty Hardin for a misdemeanor?

July, 9, 2012
7/09/12
11:21
AM ET

I've seen some interesting reactions already to news that Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson hired high-profile attorney Rusty Hardin following his arrest this past weekend in Houston.

Peterson was charged with resisting arrest at a Houston-area nightclub, a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. Those who are inclined to consider the incident minor are wondering why Peterson would feel compelled to bring in such a heavy hitter for an adjudication that should be relatively routine.

Those who suspect there is more to the story, on the other hand, feel vindicated by the addition of the attorney who successfully defended former major league pitcher Roger Clemens during two federal trials. With Hardin's help, Clemens avoided conviction on perjury charges related to denials of performance-enhancing drug use.

Unless Houston prosecutors tack on some additional charges, Peterson wouldn't seem in line for much in the way of punishment either from the legal system or the NFL. So what is Hardin doing here?

As we discussed during weekend, Peterson has a glistening legal record. He's one of the NFL's best and most marketable players, and the ensuing publicity of any arrest is likely to outweigh the severity of the crime.

Peterson vowed Sunday that "the truth will surface." My guess is that Hardin will provide expert and elite damage control as part of a coordinated effort to protect Peterson's reputation. Unless otherwise informed, I'll classify Hardin's arrival as Peterson simply using every resource available to him.

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