The Minnesota Vikings are reinstating Adrian Peterson this week after he was charged with child abuse and say he will play on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Meanwhile, Peterson has issued a statement, saying he is “sorry about the hurt I have brought to my child.”
Peterson issued his statement a few hours after the Vikings reinstated him to the team.
Peterson was charged last weekend after he struck his 4-year-old son with a tree branch as a form of discipline earlier this summer.
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Peterson says he has met with a psychologist and “I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen.”
Peterson says he’s not perfect, but also says “without a doubt I am not a child abuser.”
Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf made the announcement Monday that Peterson will play, one day after Peterson was benched during a 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots.
Peterson’s first court appearance in Conroe, Texas, had been schdueled for Wednesday but has subsequently been delayed until October because his lawyer is out of the country.
Peterson faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if found guilty.
The Vikings say they take the issue very seriously and have given it considerable thought. But they also say they want the legal process to take its course before making any final decisions. Peterson’s lawyer says the star player was just disciplining his child and did not mean to cause harm.
Here is Peterson’s statement:
“My attorney has asked me not to discuss the facts of my pending case. I hope you can respect that request and help me honor it. I very much want the public to hear from me but I understand that it is not appropriate to talk about the facts in detail at this time. Nevertheless, I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child. I never wanted to be a distraction to the Vikings organization, the Minnesota community or to my teammates. I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son.
“I voluntarily appeared before the grand jury several weeks ago to answer any and all questions they had. Before my grand jury appearance, I was interviewed by two different police agencies without an attorney. In each of these interviews I have said the same thing, and that is that I never ever intended to harm my son. I will say the same thing once I have my day in court. I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen. I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.
“I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward. 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. I accept the fact that people feel very strongly about this issue and what they think about my conduct. Regardless of what others think, however, I love my son very much and I will continue to try to become a better father and person.”
Here is the Wilfs’ statement with respect to Peterson’s reinstatement to the team:
“Today’s decision was made after significant thought, discussion and consideration. As evidenced by our decision to deactivate Adrian from yesterday’s game, this is clearly a very important issue. On Friday, we felt it was in the best interests of the organization to step back, evaluate the situation, and not rush to judgment given the seriousness of this matter. At that time, we made the decision that we felt was best for the Vikings and all parties involved.
“To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child. At this time, however, we believe this is a matter of due process and we should allow the legal system to proceed so we can come to the most effective conclusions and then determine the appropriate course of action. This is a difficult path to navigate, and our focus is on doing the right thing. Currently we believe we are at a juncture where the most appropriate next step is to allow the judicial process to move forward.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support Adrian’s fulfillment of his legal responsibilities throughout this process.”