NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The attorney for Adrian Peterson said Friday night the Minnesota Vikings star running back has been indicted by a Texas grand jury on a charge of child abuse.
Attorney Rusty Hardin said the charge in Montgomery County accused Peterson of using a branch, or switch, to spank his son.
“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. Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours,” Hardin said in a statement.
“Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning,” Hardin continued. “It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.”
Nick Wright of Sports Radio 610 in Houston reported Peterson told police he gave his 4-year-old son a “whooping” in Spring, Texas in May. The boy had allegedly pushed one of Peterson’s other children off a motorbike video game, Wright reported.
The beating allegedly resulted in numerous injuries to the child, including cuts and bruises to the child’s back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands, Sports Radio 610 reported.
The Vikings, who opened the season with a win over the St. Louis Rams last weekend, deactivated Peterson for Sunday’s game against visiting New England Patriots.
“The Vikings are in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation involving Adrian Peterson. At this time, we will defer further questions to Adrian’s attorney Rusty Hardin,” the Vikings said in a statement.
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.
The NFL didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Peterson’s situation.
A man who identified himself as Peterson’s uncle, Chris Peterson, answered the door at the running back’s home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and said Peterson wasn’t there and that the family had no comment.
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 Peterson was 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 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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