Fargo - Money talks. And in this $45 billion business we call the National Football League, it speaks volumes.

It explains why Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings’ all-world running back who is facing charges of child abuse, will more than likely miss the rest of the season.

The Vikings did the right thing having Peterson sit out last week’s game against New England. They did the wrong thing Monday when they reinstated him to the team. Then, in an about face, they announced Peterson will not be associated with the team until the case in Texas is resolved.

Funny how the Vikings owners suddenly had a change of heart – not long after major NFL sponsors voiced their displeasure with the way the league handled the recent Ray Rice domestic-abuse case and the way the Vikings seesawed with the Peterson case.

Anheuser-Busch, a $171 billion operation that provides the NFL with $200 million a year in advertising, wasn’t happy. Nor were heavyweight companies like Nike (which removed its Peterson jerseys from stores in the Minneapolis area), the Radisson hotel chain (which temporarily suspended its sponsorship with the Vikings), Pepsico, McDonalds, Visa and Campbell’s Soup.

Mmmm, mmmm good. Those are companies that, combined, are worth $614 billion. That’s a lot of dough the NFL does not want to lose. That’s a lot of money talking.

It’s a sad commentary that money – and not morality, honesty or integrity – is the driving force behind doing the right thing.

And it’s a sad commentary that these billion-dollar companies are coming across as the good guys here. They, like the NFL, are all about image. Let’s hope – and I’m assuming they do – that these companies have policies in place that deal with domestic and child abuse.

Money, unfortunately, is what the NFL is all about – overshadowing what has become the most popular sport in America.

Here are just a few examples of how money crazy the NFL has become:

The Vikings will pay Peterson $10.38 million while he sits. That’s $692,000 per game, $173,000 per quarter. AP, if he were playing, would make more money in four minutes of a game than most of us make in a year.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who many think should resign for his bungling of the Ray Rice situation, makes $35 million a year. Not bad for the boss of a league that operates as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization.

In a settlement reached from former players citing permanent health damages from concussions, the NFL paid $765 million. That’s 2 percent of the NFL’s $45 billion value. A drop in the bucket.

For the next eight years, the television networks will pay the NFL nearly $40 billion (yes, billion) to broadcast the games millions of Americans watch each week. It’s a big reason the average value of an NFL franchise is now $1.4 billion.

The NFL has become so lucrative, pop singer Bruno Mars was not paid one dime for his performance at last year’s Super Bowl. That show cost $10 million – easily covered by 2½ Super Bowl advertisements that run $4 million for 30 seconds.

The average cost for a ticket to an NFL game is $144. Yet, somehow, fans will continue to fill the stadiums – elaborate venues the public has helped pay for. Since 1997, the league’s teams have received $5 billion in taxpayer money for new stadiums. Minnesota taxpayers are forking nearly $500 million for the $975 million glass, Taj Mahal currently being constructed in downtown Minneapolis.

That’s a lot of money talk. And money talks.

That’s why a U.S. senator recently threatened to introduce a bill that would strip the NFL of its tax-exempt status if it doesn’t get rid of the Washington Redskins nickname.

If this bill gains any traction, D.C. football fans won’t be chanting “Hail the Redskins” anymore. After all, money talks.

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