Adrian Peterson says he’s sorry that his effort to “discipline” his 4-year-old son by hitting him in the genitals with a tree branch caused the boy harm but that he’s not a child abuser despite having been indicted last week.
Peterson issued a lengthy statement Monday apologizing for the harm he inflicted and revealing that a shrink he’s seeing has helped him realize there are alternative ways to discipline a child.
The statement came the same day that the Vikings, who sat Peterson in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Patriots, announced that Peterson will play Sunday at New Orleans as the team lets the legal process work its way out.
And in a bombshell report published hours after Peterson’s apology, KHOU TV reported that Peterson is being investigated for abusing a different 4-year-old son who has a different mother than the son whose beating led to the indictment.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Peterson Said He’s Not a Perfect Son, Husband or Parent, but Not a Child Abuser
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.
2. Peterson Said He Was Disciplining His Son the Way He Was Disciplined as a Child
Repeating a claim made last week by his lawyer, Peterson said in his statement Monday that he was merely disciplining his son the way his parents and other relatives disciplined him when he was growing up in east Texas.
From the statement:
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.
3. A Psychologist Told Peterson There Are ‘Alternative’ Ways to Discipline a Child
Peterson said Monday that a psychologist has helped him understand that beating a child with a tree branch is not the only way to instill discipline.
From the statement:
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.
4. The Vikings Decided to ‘Allow the Legal System to Proceed’ and Let Peterson Play Sunday
After Minnesota de-activated Peterson prior to the team’s 30-7 loss to the Patriots Sunday, Vikings owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf reversed course Monday and announced that — despite photos showing bruises and cuts on Peterson’s sons thighs — they were going to “allow the legal system to proceed” and let Peterson play in Week 3 against the Saints.
Here’s the statement from the Wilfs:
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.
5. Peterson Is Also Accused of Beating a Different 4-Year-Old Son
Just hours after Peterson’s apology and the Vikings announcement that he’ll play Sunday, KHOU TV reported that Peterson is being investigated for abusing a different 4-year-old son last June.
The station reported that the boy’s mother found wounds on the boy’s head and confronted Peterson in a text message. The woman reported the incident to Child Protective Services, but charges have not been filed, and it’s not clear where the agency’s investigation stands.
The station’s investigative team uncovered this exchange of text messages that it said was between Peterson and the child’s mother. In the exchange, Peterson initially says the boy hit his head on the carseat, but quickly reverses course and acknowledges beating the boy.
Mother: “What happened to his head?”
Peterson: “Hit his head on the Carseat.”
Mother: “How does that happen, he got a whoopin in the car.”
Peterson: “I felt so bad. But he did it his self.”