Adrian Peterson, the star NFL running back indicted on child abuse charges, admitted hitting his 4-year-old son in the testicles with a wooden tree branch — or “switch” — according to a CBS Houston report. Peterson’s admission came in a text message to the boy’s mother.
In a series of texts, 29-year-old Peterson described the extent of the beating he rained down on his son as an act of discipline after the boy pushed another of Peterson’s kids while the other child was playing a video game.
In the text messages, Peterson said that he “felt bad” about the beating because he realized later that he had caused more injuries than he had intended. But he added that his “bad” feelings would not stop further beatings if he deemed them necessary.
“Got him in nuts once I noticed,” Peterson wrote in a text to the boy’s mother, according to the CBS report. “But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed! I start putting them in timeout. N save the whooping for needed memories!”
In another text, Peterson assured the boy’s mother, “never do I go overboard!”
Prosecutors allege that the beating caused multiple injuries to the child, including bruises and cuts to the boy’s legs, buttocks, back, and scrotum.
The superstar running back, one of the NFL’s top stars, was booked into Montgomery County jail in Texas early Saturday morning. The star, who receives an annual salary of $11.5 million from the Minnesota Vikings, was released after posting a $15,000 bond.
Peterson flew from Houston to Minneapolis for Sunday’s game between the Vikings and the New England Patriots, but the Vikings declared him inactive after the indictment. Peterson did not play in the game.
In his interview with police, Peterson was reportedly calm and cooperative, maintaining that he did nothing outside the realm of normal parental discipline of a child.
“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,” said Peterson’s lawyer, Russ Hardin. “It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.”
According to the CBS News report, however, the 4-year-old told police that Adrian Peterson struck him in the face and that he feared that his father would punch him in the face for speaking to the police. The boy also is said to have told police that Peterson hit him with a belt.