Adrian Peterson issued a statement regarding his physical abuse of his four-year-old son, stating that he is “without a doubt, not a child abuser,” and admitting that he never intended to harm his child. His statement came just hours before separate allegations arose that Peterson had injured another one of his children last June.
The full text of Peterson’s statement, as carried by CBS Local out of Minnesota:
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.
TMZ Sports obtained photos of the cuts and slash marks on the boy’s thighs and hands. The boy also had bruising on his lower back and buttocks from heavy-handed spanking. Peterson admitted to spanking his son, and using a “switch” to whip him repeatedly on the legs.
The Minnesota Vikings also released a brief statement Monday night:
As part of the information we have gathered throughout this process, we were made aware of an allegation from 2013 in which authorities took no action against Adrian. We will defer any further questions to Adrian’s attorney Rusty Hardin.
According to the Detroit Free Press, quoting USA Today Sports, Peterson himself was abused as a child at the hands of his own father. Says the site:
[Peterson’s friend] David Cummings and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson still talk about the frequent whippings Peterson’s father administered — and one whipping in particular. Cummings says he and Peterson were leaving football practice while in middle school when Peterson’s father, Nelson, was waiting near the parking lot.
School officials had called Nelson Peterson to report that Adrian had been disruptive in class, recalled Cummings, who played football and basketball with Adrian Peterson during their youth and through high school. With that, Nelson Peterson unstrapped his belt and whipped Adrian Peterson in front of more than 20 students, Cummings said.
According to Houston TV station KHOU, “a top law enforcement official confirmed knowledge of the allegations by the mother of Peterson’s son back in June 2013. Photos, which the KHOU I-Team obtained from a source, show a head wound to a boy identified as Peterson’s four year old son. It is a wound that weeks later, left a scar above his right eye.”
The news station says they also have obtained a string of text messages that were turned over to the police at the time of the investigation. The messages are between the mother of the boy and Peterson. The messages contain multiple grammatical errors. Per KHOU:
Mother : What happened to his head?
Peterson: Hit his head on the Carseat
Mother: How does this happen, he got a whoopin in the car
Peterson: I felt so bad. But he did it his self.
Mother: What did you hit him with?
Peterson: be still n take ya whopping, he would have saved the scar. He’s aight.
Mother: I’m real sensitive about my baby and him being hit.
Peterson: You tripping if you want him, come get him. I’m not about to be getting questioned down like you CPS (Child Protective Services)
Peterson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin released the following statement regarding these “new” allegations:
“The allegation of another investigation into Adrian Peterson is simply not true. This is not a new allegation, it’s one that is unsubstantiated and was shopped around to authorities in two states over a year ago and nothing came of it. An adult witness adamantly insists Adrian did nothing inappropriate with his son. There is no ongoing or new investigation.”
After being inactive last week, Peterson is scheduled at this time to play Sunday.