Adrian Peterson is back on the Minnesota Vikings after being deactivated following a child abuse arrest, and the quick return to the team is drawing some criticism across the league.
Peterson was indicted Friday on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child, after reportedly beating his four-year-old son with a switch. The Vikings deactivated Peterson for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, but on Monday quickly changed course and brought him back onto the roster.
Adrian Peterson has not discussed specifics of the case, but on Monday released a statement saying he was only disciplining the boy the way he was disciplined as a child.
“I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward,” Peterson said in the statement. “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.”
Some have supported Adrian Peterson. Commentator Charles Barkley said that if Peterson is arrested for allegedly using a switch to beat his son, then countless other black parents in the South would have to be arrested too.
Fullback Jerome Felton said he experienced the same kind of discipline when he grew up.
“I guess people have different opinions, and you’ll have to judge for yourself,” Felton said. “I feel like I’m a better person for it. I had direction under my family. My mother cared about me a lot, and I know people that didn’t have parents that cared, didn’t discipline them and turned out a lot different than I did. It’s a personal judgment, and some people like it. Some people don’t.”
But legendary Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton criticized the decision to reinstate Adrian Peterson, saying it was more about the owners not losing money, and the team reacting to a blowout loss.
[Photos via vpwallpapers.com and ESPN]