Adrian Peterson reinstated by Vikings, expected to play Sunday
NFL team wants legal process to play out before making final decisions
Adrian Peterson is coming back to the Minnesota Vikings two days after he was charged with child abuse for using a wooden switch to spank his four-year-old son, and the star running back said Monday he is not a child abuser and wants "everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child."
Radisson suspends Vikings sponsorship
The Radisson hotel chain is suspending its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings after star running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse in Texas.
In a statement Monday, Minnetonka-based Radisson, part of the family owned hospitality and travel company Carlson, said it "takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children."
"We are closely following the situation and effective immediately, Radisson is suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances," the company's statement read.
Radisson's sponsorship includes a press banner that is behind those speaking at Vikings news conferences. On Monday, the banner was behind Vikings general manager Rick Spielman as he discussed the team's decision to reinstate Peterson after benching him for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots.
Peterson is accused of using a tree branch to spank his 4-year-old son. The running back says he was using a form of discipline his father used on him as a boy.
"Based on our long-standing relationship, the Minnesota Vikings respectfully honored Radisson's request," a team spokesman said in an email Monday night.
Peterson, considered one of the best running backs in the NFL, was benched for Sunday's 30-7 home loss to the New England and he had not commented publicly since news broke on Friday that he had lashed the boy with the switch earlier this summer, causing an unspecified injuries.
"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 nearly 500-word statement issued through his agency. "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."
While adding he isn't perfect, Peterson stated "without a doubt I am not a child abuser."
In a later report on Monday by KHOU 11 in Houston, Peterson was investigated last year for causing a head injury to another one of his sons.
However, Peterson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin denied the charge.
“The allegation of another investigation into Adrian Peterson is simply not true. The allegation is more than one year old and authorities took no action. An adult witness admittedly insists Adrian did nothing inappropriate with his son,” Hardin said in a statement.
The Vikings also released a statement confirming the team was aware of the other child abuse allegation.
Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said the decision to bring back Peterson for practices and Sunday's game at New Orleans was made "after significant thought, discussion and consideration." Peterson was deactivated for Sunday's 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots after he was charged with striking his son with a tree branch this summer.
The Wilfs say they want to let the legal process play out before making any more definitive decisions on Peterson's future with the team.
"To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child," they said. "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."
The Wilfs were not available for further comment on Monday but general manager Rick Spielman said they are going to leave the decision about whether Peterson crossed a line while disciplining his son up to the courts.
"We are trying to do the right thing," Spielman said. "This is a difficult path to navigate regarding the judgment of how a parent disciplines his child. Based on the extensive information we have right now and what we know of Adrian not only as a person but what he's done for this community, we believe he deserves to play while the legal process plays out."
Idiots. He violated his moral clause in the contract, should be suspended indefinitely. RT <a href="https://twitter.com/CBSNews">@CBSNews</a> Adrian Peterson reinstated by Vikings—@ScottLofquist
He faces an initial court appearance in Conroe, Texas, on Wednesday on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child, which carries penalties of up to two years in prison and a $10,000 US fine.
Corporal punishment is legal in Texas and non-deadly force against a child by a parent or guardian is permissible. But the punishment is abusive if it causes injury. A blow that leaves a bruise, welt or swelling, or requires medical attention, could be judged abusive. The guidelines also say use of an instrument "is cause for concern."
Hardin, said Peterson used a switch because that was the way he was brought up by his parents in Palestine, Texas, and the NFL star agreed in his statement. He was not available to reporters.
"I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen," Peterson said. "I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate."
I can't even say I'm surprised the Vikings re-instated Adrian Peterson.—@howaboutafresca
The Vikings decided not to play Peterson against the Patriots, moving swiftly after a week in which the NFL came under heavy scrutiny for its handling of a domestic violence case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
Spielman said the Vikings have seen files the authorities have built on Peterson's case, including some photos of the injuries the boy sustained.
"The photos are disturbing. I understand that," Spielman said. "But to be clear, any matter that's involving the child is very important for this organization. But we also think it is right for him to go through the process legally."
The Vikings clearly see Peterson's case as different from the 2011 case involving former cornerback Chris Cook, who was accused of choking his girlfriend and charged with domestic assault. Cook was suspended by the team, reinstated with pay and then barred from all team activities, including games, while the legal process unfolded.
Cook wound up missing 10 games and was eventually acquitted. He never faced discipline from the NFL and played two more seasons with the Vikings before signing with the 49ers.
The Vikings also cut cornerback A.J. Jefferson last year, less than a day after he was arrested for domestic assault. But Spielman steadfastly denied the team's decision on Peterson had anything to do with his status as one of the best players in the league and his ability to help the team win games.
"It has nothing to do with him as a football player," Spielman said. "It's based purely on the facts that we have that have been presented to us."
The NFL is looking into Peterson's case, and if convicted he could face a minimum six-game suspension under the league's new domestic abuse policy that was implemented after commissioner Roger Goodell admitted he botched Rice's initial punishment.
Coach Mike Zimmer said he had input during deliberations, but ultimately it was ownership's decision to let him play again.
"It's important that when I ask these players to do the things I ask them to do, to fight for me, to run through the wall for me, that I'm able do my very best to help support them when I can," Zimmer said.
The Vikings' decision to reinstate Peterson came on the same day the NFL announced that three experts in domestic violence will serve as senior advisers to the league and help shape policies.
"I accept the fact that people feel very strongly about this issue and what they think about my conduct," Peterson said. "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."
<a href="https://twitter.com/TIME">@TIME</a> People are innocent until proven guilty.—@couleenorsk
<a href="https://twitter.com/garylawless">@garylawless</a> are the Vikings so eager to get him back in there if they won yesterday and Asiata rushed for 150 yards? No way!—@jconquergood
<a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter">@AdamSchefter</a> I can't even begin to say how upset this makes me.—@Molorange
Adrian Peterson statement
My attorney has asked me not to discuss the facts of my pending case. I hope you can respect that request and help me honour it. I very much want the public to hear from me but I understand that it is not appropriate to talk about the facts in detail at this time. Nevertheless, I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child. I never wanted to be a distraction to the Vikings organization, the Minnesota community or to my teammates. I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son.
I voluntarily appeared before the grand jury several weeks ago to answer any and all questions they had. Before my grand jury appearance, I was interviewed by two different police agencies without an attorney. In each of these interviews I have said the same thing, and that is that I never ever intended to harm my son. I will say the same thing once I have my day in court. I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen. I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.
I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward. But deep in my heart I have always believed I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets without the discipline instilled in me by my parents and other relatives. 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.
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. 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. I accept the fact that people feel very strongly about this issue and what they think about my conduct. 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.