ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton pressured the Vikings on Tuesday to suspend running back Adrian Peterson until an accusation of child abuse was resolved in the Texas legal system.
Dayton added his voice to those questioning the team’s decision to reinstate Peterson after benching him the week before. Peterson is accused of using a wooden switch to spank his 4-year-old son. He has said he was sorry for hurting the child but didn’t intend to and isn’t a child abuser.
“Yes, Mr. Peterson is entitled to due process and should be ‘innocent until proven guilty,'” Dayton said in a written statement. “However, he is a public figure; and his actions, as described, are a public embarrassment to the Vikings organization and the state of Minnesota. Whipping a child to the extent of visible wounds, as has been alleged, should not be tolerated in our state.”
Taxpayers in Minnesota are putting in roughly half of the team’s new $1 billion stadium under construction. Dayton said he wouldn’t let the Peterson situation sidetrack that deal.
“I will not turn my back on the Vikings and their fans, as some have suggested,” Dayton said. “The Vikings belong to Minnesota — and in Minnesota.”
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