Donald Watkins, who tried to buy Twins, indicted on federal fraud charges

Well, here’s a strange blast from the past: Remember Donald Watkins?

Maybe you do. Maybe you’ve never heard of him. Or maybe you’ve done everything in your power to purge the memory of the very strange time the Minnesota Twins had off the field around 2001 and 2002.

But here’s the short version of why Watkins matters: The Alabaman made a bid in 2001 to buy the Twins from the Pohlad family for $150 million. It came at a time when the Twins were under threat of contraction from Major League Baseball but were simultaneously working on a new stadium.

Watkins promised to buy the team and privately fund a new ballpark. Problem was, his finances always seemed a little shaky. By the early part of 2002, even after meeting with local officials (he’s pictured above with former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak), he had been ruled out as a prospective owner.

And the Pohlad family, of course, never ended up selling the team.  The Twins that year won the first of six division titles in nine seasons. Target Field was eventually built. And here we are now.

So why is Watkins relevant on the last day of November, 2018? Because he was just indicted in federal court along with his son of seven counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

Per AL.com:

According to the indictment, from 2007 until at least 2014, the two defendants induced investors to pay millions of dollars into a bank account controlled by Donald Watkins Sr. by telling the investors that their money would be used for specific purposes related to the international growth of two companies associated with the defendants. Instead of using the money for those purposes, the indictment states, the two men redirected the funds for other uses, including the payment of personal tax obligations, personal loan payments, alimony, and clothing.

Watkins released a lengthy statement decrying “bogus” charges.

All I can say is, hoo boy. Imagine if somehow Watkins had managed to buy the Twins back then.

How much credit for Wolves’ improvement should go to Tom Thibodeau?

Welcome to the Friday edition of The Cooler, where it’s better to be right than popular. Let’s get to it:

*Tom Thibodeau’s Bulls teams had a well-earned reputation for defensive excellence. They finished first in defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) in Thibodeau’s first two seasons as head coach and rode that strength to overall success.

Thibodeau last coached the Bulls in the 2014-15 season. After a year off, he took over as president and head coach of the Wolves in 2016-17. The assumption was that defense would be the Wolves’ trademark strength under Thibodeau.

Instead, the Timberwolves ranked No. 27 in defensive efficiency in Thibodeau’s first season here. After acquiring defensive stalwart Jimmy Butler in the 2017 offseason, the thought was that he would help the Wolves finally improve in that area. They did, all the way up to … No. 25 last season. Still bad. While it was true that Minnesota was much better defensively when the starting five played together, the overall defensive problem still existed.

Fast-forward to this year, when it only got worse. Through the season’s first 13 games, 10 of which Butler played before being traded, the Wolves ranked second-to-last in the NBA in defensive efficiency at 114.3 points allowed per 100 possessions.

And then Thibodeau traded away the player he worked so hard to get, blew up the master plan because Butler wanted out … and suddenly the defense isn’t just improved or adequate. It’s the best in the NBA.

No, really. Since Nov. 10, the day the Butler trade news broke, the Wolves are 7-2 and have the No. 1 overall defensive rating in the NBA at 99.8 points per 100 possessions. They’re also No. 2 overall in net rating (offensive rating minus defensive rating).

Robert Covington and Dario Saric obviously have a lot to do with that. Covington *might* be the best defensive player in the entire NBA, which is saying a lot. At the very least, he was one of the five best last year in being named first-team all-defense. Saric is a solid defender who is equally adept at saving possessions.

But there’s also this: The whispers during Thibodeau’s first two-plus seasons were that his defensive principles were outdated. Now that he’s restored — at least in a small but growing sample size — the defensive excellence he enjoyed in Chicago, how much credit should we be giving Thibodeau?

The Wolves fan base might unanimously be shouting “ZERO! ZERO!” because of their all-consuming distaste for the coach. But let’s say this:

Even if he didn’t know exactly how good Covington was until he got here, he did acquire two strong defensive players. The personnel is better, and that always helps a coach.

And Thibodeau is employing far more switching concepts on defense this year than in the past, which could be personnel-based but also shows a willingness to adapt.

The result is a team that looks as much like a classic Chicago Thibodeau team as anything the Wolves have put on the court since he arrived. And the president/coach should at least get some of the credit for that.

*Zach Lowe has a look at what makes Saric such a good offensive rebounder — and how in tandem with Karl-Anthony Towns the two bigs have been grabbing a ton of their team’s misses.

*Washington is getting hammered for its decision to claim Reuben Foster off waivers from the 49ers mere days after he was released following an arrest for domestic assault. But Washington decision-makers doubled down on their absurd rhetoric Thursday, insisting all key stakeholders were unified on the decision.

Senior VP Doug Williams put together a string of disturbing quotes, including this one: “We got people who are in high, high, high, high places that have done far worse, if you look at it realistically. And they’re still up there. This is small potatoes [compared to] a lot of things out there. But at the same time, it’s a big issue in America today, whether or not it’s in football, whether or not it’s in everyday life, whether or not it’s in politics, it’s out there.”

So that’s the message: Other people have done worse things, so a bad thing is OK. Unbelievable.

Rick Pitino doesn’t put Gophers on ‘elite’ list; Richard’s reply is perfect

Former basketball coach Rick Pitino, who was fired by Louisville a year ago and said two months ago that he won’t coach again, nevertheless still follows the sport very closely.

“I love the game,” he told ESPN two months ago. “I still eat, sleep and drink it. I watch every minute of it.”

As such, Pitino gave his thoughts on Twitter about the 14 potential championship teams in men’s college basketball. He identified five “elite” programs: Virginia, Duke, Gonzaga, Michigan, and Kansas, as well as nine others that were either “almost elite” or had the “potential to be elite.”

Of the 14, three were Big Ten teams (Wisconsin and Michigan State in addition to Michigan). The Gophers — coached by his son, Richard — were not included.

That’s fair and accurate even with the nice start the Gophers have had to their season, but I had to have some fun so I tweeted the list to get the attention of Richard Pitino.

And his response was priceless.

Richard Pitino and the king of elite, Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck, are very tight. I can only hope and assume that was the reference.

Ex-Viking Jared Allen vs. John Shuster’s U.S. gold medal curling team Friday

Welcome to the Thursday edition of The Cooler, where sometimes things just look too easy. Let’s get to it:

*If there is a way to get me (and you) to care deeply about a curling tournament in Eveleth this weekend, here it is: Invite an eclectic team that includes ex-Viking Jared Allen and have that team face the U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning squad led by John Shuster.

That preamble brings our attention to the Curl Mesabi Classic, an Iron Range tradition that might turn out to be the best sporting event this weekend (and yes, I’m aware the Vikings play the Patriots on Sunday).

If I’m reading the schedule correctly — and hopefully at my age I’m able to do such a fundamental thing — Allen’s team will face Shuster’s team at 5:30 p.m. Friday during Draw 4.

Shuster is of course the skip of his squad, and he’ll be joined by fellow Olympians John Landsteiner and Matt Hamilton.

Allen is a third on his four-man team — pretty much the vice-skip and the one who typically throws the second-to-last set of stones in each end. Adding to the completely random and eclectic mix: former NFL quarterback Marc Bulger is also on Allen’s team.

But lest you think this is some sort of whim or publicity thing for Allen, think again. He’s been serious about curling for a while, and even indicated at one point that he’d like to make a run at the 2022 Olympics.

Allen posted an Instagram picture last month of him at a curling rink, talking about going “stones deep” (of course) into the sport. No word on whether he’ll wear his trademark 69 jersey or pretend to lasso his opponent after a particularly successful end. Perhaps someone who attends this weekend’s festivities can report back?

*There were a ton of memorable moments in the Timberwolves’ 128-89 shellacking of the Spurs on Wednesday, but perhaps the best came when fan favorite Josh Okogie entered the game in the fourth quarter and delivered a monster dunk.

The FSN broadcast caught the reaction from the Wolves, which included a priceless expression of glee from team owner Glen Taylor.

*Speaking of Okogie, by the way: Maybe fans can calm down a little bit about angst over him not playing. I agree with a lot of you (and Wolves players) that he’s talented and that he made the most of an early-season opportunity while several guards missed time.

I’m also curious to see what he would look like in a lineup alongside Robert Covington considering the energy and defensive acumen both have displayed.

But the advanced numbers also say Okogie, for all his flashes, has been one of the Wolves’ least efficient players this year. He needs to keep developing. He’s a bright part of the future, but the Wolves are 7-2 since trading Jimmy Butler. Tom Thibodeau is pushing a lot of the right buttons, and that includes sitting the rookie most games. His time will come, and he will be ready.

*Among goalies who have played at least 500 minutes this season, the Wild’s Devan Dubnyk has fallen to No. 19 in save percentage (91.6) after being near the top for much of the season. Even worse, he’s No. 35 in goals saved above average — an advanced stat that takes into account shot quality — at minus-3.69, per Corsica.

Upon further review, it seems Vikings WRs were tough for Packers to handle

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler, where it’s always a good idea to show your work. Let’s get to it:

*Packers rookie corner Jaire Alexander, a first-round pick in 2018, looks like he’s going to be a pretty good player for years to come. He’s also not lacking in confidence, which is an important trait for any player but particularly for a corner.

That said, he might want to dial it back a little bit when he says things like the Vikings offense wasn’t “that tough” after a 24-17 Minnesota victory on Sunday night. Not only did the comment draw some attention in the immediate aftermath, but with the benefit of hindsight — and film — we can see just how tough the Vikings were.

In particular, Vikings wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs routinely beat Green Bay coverage in both games this season. They combined for 37 catches, 461 yards and five touchdown grabs in the two meetings between the teams — with at least some of that work coming against Alexander.

If you don’t believe the numbers, believe the film. Nick Olson on Twitter put together a compilation video from Sunday’s game after tweeting: “Jaire Alexander said the Vikings weren’t that good, so I went back and checked the tape.”

These are, as the kids like to say, the receipts:

*The Oakland A’s are proposing a multi-use site that includes a new 34,000-seat ballpark. They currently play in the Coliseum, which is politely termed a dump (though not one without its peculiar charms). The new spot would be about a 1,000 percent aesthetic upgrade — on par with the Twins leaving the Metrodome for Target Field. The renderings are spectacular.

*Timberwolves teammates were encouraging and sometimes badgering Tyus Jones to shoot more at the start of the season, and it was seemingly to the detriment of his overall game.

In his first 12 games (before the Jimmy Butler trade), Jones attempted 6.8 shots per game and shot just 30.5 percent from the field. He was a combined minus-58 in those games.

In his last seven games, Jones has attempted just 2.7 shots per game. He’s hitting 47 percent of them, and he’s a plus-39 in those seven games.

This isn’t just a simple Butler-in, Butler-out story. The Wolves were missing other key players aside from General Soreness for stretches earlier this year, including Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose. That messed with their rotations and probably put Jones into less comfortable spots with less desirable lineups.

But it is worth noting that the Wolves, now at full strength, have a real asset in Jones. In a lineup with Rose, Gorgui Dieng and newcomers Robert Covington and Dario Saric, Jones has thrived by playing good defense and controlling half-court sets while Rose attacks. That five-man group is outscoring opponents by 25 points per 100 possessions in a limited sample size.

*Good stuff here from Bobby Marks of ESPN, who takes a look at some below-the-radar moves this past NBA offseason that have made big impacts. He touches on Rose as one of several minimum-salary guys to pay huge dividends so far.

Don’t let Logan Morrison cloud your vision of Twins’ C.J. Cron pickup

The five-second hot take reaction to the Twins picking up power hitter C.J. Cron off waivers from Tampa Bay was “here we go again.” Twins fans, still stinging from last year’s acquisition of 38-home run hitter Logan Morrison, also from Tampa Bay, wanted no part of that process repeated.

Assuming the Twins keep Cron and bring him to arbitration, he figures to make a little over $5 million next season — a shade less than the $6.5 million Morrison was guaranteed last year, but comparable. Both guys led the Rays in homers the year before they came to the Twins.

Morrison hit 15 more home runs in 2017 than he had ever hit in another season. Cron hit 14 more in 2018 — 30 total — than he had ever hit in a season. Both are first basemen/DHs.

So why are the Twins trying this again? Well, probably because these are two different players even if the circumstances seem similar.

For example:

In Morrison’s five previous combined seasons before hitting 38 homers for the Rays in 2017, his averages per 162 games were: 19 home runs, a .239 batting average and a .712 OPS. He vaulted to 38 homers (in 149 games) in 2017 with an .868 OPS. Launch angle was credited with the leap, but his regression in 2018 (.644 OPS) suggests the one-year jump was more of an aberration.

In Cron’s four previous combined seasons before hitting 30 homers for the Rays in 2018, his averages per 162 games were: 24 home runs, a .262 batting average and a .756 OPS. That’s not wholly out of line with his production last season, when he posted an .816 OPS while getting more playing time. Even if he dropped back down to his pre-2018 levels, he would be a useful player. The average AL first baseman had a .738 OPS last season, and the average AL DH had an OPS of .780.

Morrison also turned 31 in the middle of the 2018 season with the Twins, while Cron is about to turn 29 in January.

Another key stat: Cron, a right-handed batter, crushed lefties last season (.930 OPS compared to a still good .767 vs. righties), but for his career it’s an almost even split: .776 OPS vs. left-handed pitching, .770 vs. right-handed pitching.

Morrison, a left-handed batter, has more pronounced splits: .773 OPS against righties in his career but just .691 vs. lefties.

Long story short: Cron is a younger, slightly cheaper version of what the Twins hoped they were getting in Morrison last year, with a more consistent track record and a better chance to be in the lineup against righties or lefties.

Without the Morrison disaster for context, fans would probably be more excited. But even with that context, it still seems like a sound move.

You can argue the Twins already have an even younger and even cheaper version of Cron on the roster in Tyler Austin, but I would think there is room for both guys (as long as it’s not at the expense of Willians Astudillo. That’s where I draw the line).

Jimmy Butler trade is looking good for both teams so far

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of The Cooler, where sometimes things work out just fine. Let’s get to it:

*It’s been about two weeks since the Wolves’ trade of Jimmy Butler to the 76ers for Robert Covington and Dario Saric became official.

The Wolves are 6-2 since the move was made, including 5-2 since the new players joined their lineup. The 76ers are 6-2 since the move was made, including 5-2 since Butler joined the lineup.

So both teams have achieved the exact same success, albeit via different means. The 76ers have been one of the league’s best offensive teams since Butler’s arrival, ranking No. 6 in the NBA in offensive rating in the last seven games with him playing.

But they’ve been No. 25 in defensive rating and have required some late-game heroics from Butler. Twice he’s made game-winning shots at the buzzer after going 0-for-last season on late game clutch shots for the Wolves.

The Wolves, meanwhile, are allowing just 99.9 points per 100 possessions in their last seven games with Covington and Saric — the second-best mark in the NBA in that span. But they’re just No. 26 in offensive rating since the trade.

In terms of net rating, the Wolves are No. 6 (plus 5.5) over the last seven games, while the 76ers are No. 16 (plus 0.1) in the same span.

The bottom line is results, and so far this much is clear: the trade has certainly helped the Wolves and it appears to have done the same for the 76ers. It might be one of those rare deals that works out great for both sides.

*It was interesting, by the way, to see the Wolves used a crunch time lineup in Monday’s 102-95 win at Cleveland that included Derrick Rose instead of the struggling Andrew Wiggins to go with the four other starters. Rose right now is the team’s third-most valuable player behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Covington.

*Remember how crowded the NBA Western Conference was last season, with just three games separating the Nos. 3-9 seeds and the Wolves needing a Game 82 win just to make the playoffs as the No. 8 seed with 47 wins? It’s shaping up to be the same way this year. The Nos. 1-14 teams are separated by just 5.5 games, and 13 teams are all within at least one game of .500.

The Wolves at 10-11, by the way, are just a half-game back of the No. 8 spot. It will be a challenge to make the playoffs again after that 4-9 start in the crowded West, but Minnesota’s 6-2 spurt has put them back into the conversation at least.

*The Vikings’ path to a repeat NFC North title is narrow given that they’re 1.5 games back of the Bears with five to play, but here’s the formula: Minnesota needs to split these next two tough road games against New England and Seattle (preferably picking up the win over Seattle for possible Wild Card purposes) and then sweep the next two against Miami (home) and Detroit (road).

In the mean time, the Bears need to go 2-2, likely losing to the Rams (quite possible) and the Packers (eh, that game is in Chicago and Green Bay hasn’t won on the road all year, but it’s either that or hope the Bears lose on the road to either the Giants or 49ers).

If Minnesota can gain a game in the next four, that puts them within striking distance for a winner-take-all Week 17 rematch with the Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Green Bay rumblings: Is Aaron Rodgers part of the Packers problem?

The angst in Green Bay is palpable after the Packers’ fourth loss in five games Sunday — a 24-17 loss to the Vikings that dropped Green Bay to 4-6-1 overall and 0-6 on the road.

A lot of the hand-wringing and cyber-shouting has been directed at head coach Mike McCarthy, which is both fair and understandable. He’s been the head coach since 2006, arriving in Green Bay at the same time Brad Childress arrived in Minnesota. Any time a coach has been around that long, he is going to have detractors. And while he’s had a good run of success — including one Super Bowl — his decisions as both a head coach and offensive coach have been suspect at times.

Future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers largely has been spared any real criticism even as the offense has struggled. But that is starting to change — which, I have to say, is also fair. Let’s take a look at this from three angles: national, local to Wisconsin and statistical.

National: MMQB’s Andy Benoit wrote this morning about how Rodgers tends to freelance too much — creating the illusion that McCarthy’s offense is inefficient when in reality the QB should take some blame as well. He writes in a piece about the “myths” of McCarthy and Rodgers:

There is no stat that captures throws that should be made but aren’t, or throws that could have been made on-schedule but were made off-schedule. If these categories existed, Rodgers would have as many as any quarterback, every year. He’s a scintillating sandlot player who goes into sandlot mode way too often. Yes, Rodgers’s unique style, which few QBs have enough talent to call upon, has led to some of his most spectacular plays. But in the aggregate, it also creates the illusion of dysfunction around him.

Benoit tries a little too hard in places to make McCarthy look like an offensive innovator. It doesn’t quite read like the coach ghost-wrote the piece, but it creates far more of an even split of blame than one is accustomed to reading. The piece concludes:

It’s reasonable to keep McCarthy on the hot seat; even with his improved approach, he’s far from flawless. But when evaluating McCarthy, we must admit that his quarterback is far from flawless, too.

In Wisconsin: Longtime respected Packers writer Tom Silverstein seemed to take both QB and coach to task with equal measure after Sunday’s 24-17 loss. He writes:

Just as McCarthy and Rodgers are dialing up winning plays in the early going, their opponents are adjusting and turning the game around in their favor. And then when it’s time for the Packers to answer back, they’ve got nothing. Rodgers takes sacks on third down and misses throws he once made in his sleep. McCarthy counts on backup players pulling off the same assignments his starters did and the blocking breaks down or the routes aren’t run correctly.

He noted some plays Rodgers missed on Sunday, including a TD throw to Davante Adams on the Packers’ final drive. Silverstein concluded his piece like this:

Afterward, Adams didn’t speak to reporters, which is highly unusual for him and may have been a sign of his growing frustration with everything. Rodgers took some blame but seemed to think he was not the problem. “I missed the one to Davante and threw a no-lace ball to Equanimeous in the dirt,” Rodgers said. “Other than that, I don’t feel like I missed a lot of throws. We just weren’t executing.” That’s right, not executing. That catch-all phrase for being so bad you won’t make the playoffs.

Statistically speaking: Rodgers was sacked four times Sunday night, leading to a familiar critique from some Packers fans of the offensive line. But Pro Football Focus has consistently rated Green Bay’s offensive line among the best in the league this season. Two weeks ago, Green Bay was No. 2 in that category. The Vikings, by contrast, were, No. 29.

Rodgers has been sacked 34 times this season, tied for third-most in the NFL. But only two of those sacks have come in 2.5 seconds or less. Kirk Cousins, meanwhile, has been sacked 10 times in 2.5 seconds or less — second-most in the NFL.

Rodgers has had, on average, 2.9 seconds in the pocket on his dropbacks — fourth-best in the NFL. And the average time for a sack of Rodgers is 3.53 seconds — the eighth-longest in the league.

Rodgers is completing just 34.5 percent of passes thrown under pressure this year, many of them throwaways. That’s No. 28 in the NFL among qualified passers. Cousins is completing an absurd 67.7 percent of passes attempted under pressure, by far the best mark in the NFL. Cousins has been intercepted five times under pressure; Rodgers has zero interceptions under pressure and just one pick all year.

Those stats suggest Rodgers has been cautious with the ball and is holding it a long time — not a bad thing, per se, but perhaps he’s been too risk-averse and not willing enough to cut it loose when he has an opening?

The counter to that is that Rodgers’ play could be the result of a bad scheme and/or novice receivers (aside from Adams) not creating separation. If the Packers don’t figure things out soon and run the table to make the playoffs, it seems likely only one of Rodgers and McCarthy will still be around in Green Bay in 2019. In terms of the split there, it’s a 100 percent chance Rodgers would be the last one standing.

This was the first Gophers/Vikings weekend Wisconsin sweep in history*

Welcome to the Monday edition of The Cooler, where it’s OK to be giddy if you’re a Minnesota sports fan. Let’s get to it:

*If it feels like this is an unusual day, it’s not just because you’re wholly satisfied with a Minnesota sports weekend. The Vikings beat the Packers. The Gophers beat the Badgers. The Wild beat the Jets. The Wolves went 2-0. The Gophers volleyball team received the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. These weekends are rare. Savor them.

But yes, back to the unusual part. Twitter follower Anthony sent me an urgent direct message shortly after the Vikings finished off Green Bay 24-17 to ask how many times in history the Vikings and Gophers have defeated the Packers and Badgers on the same weekend.

I sent him a quick reply promising to check and adding, “It’s at least 2003 lol.” That, of course, was the last time the Gophers defeated the Badgers before Saturday’s 37-15 axe-kicking in Madison. But I figured it had happened a few times in their more than a half-century of shared history.

Nope. Depending on how you want to define it, it’s either never happened or it’s happened once (more on that in a minute).

*First off, the schedules have to line up. That only happens every five years or so. The last time the two teams met on the same weekend was Nov. 23-24, 2013, when the Badgers (of course) beat the Gophers and the Vikings and Packers played to a 26-26 tie.

*The last time either side of the border could claim a sweep was Nov. 4 and Nov. 6, 2000, when the Badgers beat the Gophers on a Saturday and the Packers won on Monday night (the famous/stupid Antonio Freeman overtime catch).

But that wasn’t a Saturday/Sunday thing like we had this weekend. Same goes for the only time Minnesota could claim a sweep: Oct. 20 and 22, 1994, when the Vikings beat the Packers 13-10 in overtime after knocking Brett Favre out of the game, and the Gophers scored a shocking 17-14 upset in Madison two days later.

But that Vikings/Packers game was a Thursday night affair (I was there! As a college freshman! With my Packers fan roommates! It was glorious!) So while it was part of that week’s slate of games, it was not a true weekend sweep like we had this year.

*For the last Saturday/Sunday sweep in the series, you have to go back to Nov. 20 and 21, 1982 when the Badgers beat the Gophers 24-0 in Madison and the Packers beat the Vikings 26-7 (in Milwaukee, back when Green Bay played multiple home games a year away from Lambeau Field).

*But the Gophers and Vikings? They never had a Saturday/Sunday sweep of the Badgers and Packers before this weekend. They sure came close. From 1966 to 1973, the Gophers were 6-2 against the Badgers and the Vikings were 12-4 against the Packers. They twice shared a weekend. In both cases, the Vikings won … but the two Gophers losses in that span came on those weekends (in 1966 and 1970).

So yes, no matter how old you are — whether you were born on Friday or 100 years ago — this Saturday and Sunday was the first time in your lifetime that the Gophers and Vikings swept the Badgers and Packers.

Adrian Peterson says he still uses physical punishment on his kids

In an interesting catch-up with former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Bleacher Report’s Master Tesfatsion — who helped cover Peterson while part of the Vikings beat at the Star Tribune — notes that Peterson still uses physical punishment on his kids even after everything that transpired here.

Peterson missed most of the 2014 season with the Vikings stemming from an incident with his young son in which he was indicted for a child abuse charge in Texas.

Per the story: “I had to discipline my son and spank him the other day with a belt,” Peterson says — though he employs other techniques as well. He will take away their electronics, place them in different timeouts around the house, have them do wall squats. “There’s different ways I discipline my kids,” he says. “I didn’t let that change me.”

There’s more nuance and context in the piece — much of it relating to cultural norms and beliefs — but it’s still a pretty startling thing to read.