HOUSTON (CBS/AP) — Star Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted in Texas on a charge of child abuse after using a branch to spank his son, and was swiftly benched by the team on Friday for this weekend’s game against New England.
Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said that the charge in Montgomery County accuses Peterson of using a branch, or switch, to spank one of his sons, whose age was not disclosed. Hardin said Peterson has cooperated with authorities and didn’t mean any harm.
“Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas,” Hardin said.
“Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours. Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning. It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.”
CBS Houston has details about the incident. Peterson allegedly was disciplining his 4-year-old son last May in Texas.
The Vikings, about an hour after issuing a statement acknowledging the case but deferring questions to Hardin, said Peterson would be on the inactive list for their home opener against New England.
A warrant has been issued for Peterson’s arrest, and he will have to turn himself in. There is no timeline for when he will appear in Texas, his attorney said.
“We are just obligated to try to get it done as soon as possible, which we intend to honor,” he said.
The allegations come during a week in which the NFL has been under heavy scrutiny for the way it handled a domestic abuse case involving former Ravens running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancee.
Peterson is in his eighth season, all of them with the Vikings. Widely considered the best running back in the league, he has rushed for 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns in his career. Peterson did not practice on Thursday because of what coach Mike Zimmer called a “veteran day,” allowing experienced players to rest, but Petersonwas at the team facility that day and spoke to reporters about the upcoming game against the Patriots.
He returned to practice on Friday and was in the locker room following the workout with the rest of his teammates for lunch. Shortly thereafter, Peterson posted a message on his Twitter account that said in part: “It’s your season! Weapons may form but won’t prosper! God has you covered don’t stress or worry!”
Last season, not long after finding out that he had a 2-year-old son living in South Dakota, Peterson rushed to the hospital after authorities said the boy was brutally beaten by his mother’s boyfriend. The boy died, and a 28-year-old man is scheduled to go on trial next month on second-degree murder charges in the case.
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