Sharna Burgess is not happy with “Dancing With the Stars” casting agents. The veteran pro dancer is not on the cast for the 32nd season of the ABC celebrity ballroom competition, but she thinks one celebrity who did make the cut should not have.
While speaking on iHeartRadio’s “Old-ish” podcast, Burgess denounced the casting of Adrian Peterson for DWTS season 32. The retired NFL player is partnered with Britt Stewart on the upcoming season of the ABC dance-off.
Burgess’ disappointment in the addition of Peterson comes after she was blindsided over not being asked back to “Dancing With the Stars” this season.
Here’s what you need to know:
Sharna Burgess Said She Would Have Rejected Adrian Peterson as Her Partner
On her podcast, Burgess admitted she was stunned to learn that Peterson would be a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.” The former NFL running back has a controversial personal history that includes allegations of child abuse and domestic violence.
“There’s one person that I’d like to share that I’m really shocked is on there is Adrian Peterson, the football player,” Burgess said on her podcast. “The man has been charged with child abuse of his four-year-old son in the way that he punishes him and that is just devastating for me.”
“I’m telling you now if I walked into a room and that was my partner, I would turn around and walk right out,” the Australian dancer added. “There is no way — now being a mother — I would be able to stomach that.”
Pro dancer Britt Stewart’s Instagram post announcing her partnership with Peterson is filled with disgusted comments, with some fans apologizing to her for being paired with an alleged “abuser.” Others encouraged Stewart to step down from the competition in light of her partner.
In 2014 Peterson was charged with child abuse after disciplining his young son with a tree branch that injured the child, per court documents viewed by Heavy. Peterson pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless assault and was fined and assigned community service. He was also temporarily suspended from the NFL without pay, according to USA Today.
In 2022, Peterson was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence following an argument with his wife, Ashley. Peterson’s wife later described the incident as a “private” matter between husband and wife.“At no point did Adrian hit or strike me,” she wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post, per Sports Illustrated.
There Have Been Other Controversial Contestants on DWTS
“Dancing With the Stars’ is no stranger to controversy. In season 5, retired boxer Floyd Mayweather was a cast member, despite his history of domestic violence, according to Us Weekly. Other controversial past contestants have included former Olympic skater Tanya Harding and celebrity cook Paula Deen.
Harding pled guilty to hindering prosecution regarding her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly’s involvement in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan at the 1994 Olympics. per People. DWTS fans were outraged when she was cast as a contestant in 2018, Ditto for Dean, who was embroiled in a racism scandal in 2018.
Former DWTS host Tom Bergeron has also criticized the show’s habit of casting “divisive” political characters, such as former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who appeared in season 28, per NBC News.
In addition to Peterson, the “Dancing With the Stars season 32 cast includes Tyson Beckford, Xochitl Gomez, Alyson Hannigan, Harry Jowsey, Charity Lawson, Ariana Madix, Jason Mraz, Lele Pons, Mira Sorvino, Jamie Lynn Spears, Mauricio Umansky, Matt Walsh and Barry Williams.