Minneapolis (AFP) — Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, reinstated on Monday by the NFL team, declared he was not a child abuser despite charges of injuring his four-year-old son with blows from a switch.
Peterson, who was deactivated from the playing roster for Sunday’s 30-7 home loss to New England, is able to return to practice with plans to play next Sunday at New Orleans.
The Vikings sidelined Peterson last Friday after he was charged in Texas with reckless or negligent injury to a child after using a tree branch to spank his son with blows so hard he still bore the marks days later.
“I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser,” Peterson said in a statement released by the Vikings.
“I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury. No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that’s what I tried to do that day.”
Peterson surrendered himself to Texas authorities early Saturday morning and was released on bail with a trial not expected until next year, after the end of the season.
Later Monday, Peterson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin refuted a report by KHOU-TV in Houston that Peterson is under investigation on allegations he injured another son in June of 2013.
According to the report, Peterson allegedly disciplined the boy for “cussing to a sibling,” resulting in an injury to the four-year-old’s head.
Hardin said in a statement quoted by the Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minnesota, that the allegation of another investigation “is simply not true.”
“This is not a new allegation, it’s one that is unsubstantiated and was shopped around to authorities in two states over a year ago and nothing came of it,” Hardin said. “An adult witness adamantly insists Adrian did nothing inappropriate with his son. There is no ongoing or new investigation.”
Peterson said Monday that he knew many had strong opinions on the issue of corporal punishment of children and his conduct in particular.
“Regardless of what others think, however, I love my son very much and I will continue to try to become a better father and person,” he said.
– Peterson was hit as a child –
Peterson said he was imposing the same discipline to his son that had been used upon him as a child.
“I have learned a lot and have had to re-evaluate how I discipline my son going forward,” Peterson said. “I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man.
“I love my son and I will continue to become a better parent and learn from any mistakes I ever make.”
Peterson said he has met with a psychologist over the matter and had learned there are “other, alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.”
Peterson said his attorney has asked that he not discuss details of the case.
“Nevertheless,” he said, “I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child.”
Peterson said he told a grand jury and two different police interviews without a lawyer that it was never his intention to harm his son.
– Vikings owners vow vigilance –
Before Peterson’s statement, Vikings’ owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, in a statement on the team’s website, defended their decision to let legal matters play out before making any more steps to bench the star rusher.
“We take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child. At this time, however, we believe this is a matter of due process and we should allow the legal system to proceed so we can come to the most effective conclusions and then determine the appropriate course of action.”
Peterson’s scandal hit the world’s richest sports league the same week the league saw an uproar over star rusher Ray Rice, who was fired by the Baltimore Ravens and banned indefinitely by the NFL after a video was released showing him brutally punching the woman who is now his wife in a hotel elevator.
AFP Photo/Dilip Vishwanat
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