Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson surrendered early Saturday to authorities in Montgomery County, Texas, after being indicted on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child. He was booked and released after posting $15,000 bail, reports said.
Peterson, 29, was indicted by a grand jury Friday after he allegedly used a so-called switch to spank his 4-year-old son in May, NBC News reported. Montgomery County First Assistant District Attorney Phil Grant said Peterson’s action toward his son “exceeds what the community would say is reasonable,” adding that the charges against him will be taken “extremely seriously.” If convicted, Peterson could face as many as two years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000.
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) September 13, 2014
“Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son,” Peterson’s attorney Rusty Hardin said, according to ABC News. “He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas.” Hardin added:
“Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours. Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning. It is important to remember that Adrian has never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.”
Vikings executives deactivated Peterson so that he is not on the team’s active roster ahead of Sunday’s home game against the New England Patriots, ESPN reported. He will not play in the game, but will receive his weekly game check.
It’s unclear whether the NFL will seek to discipline Peterson over the child-injury arrest. League representative Brian McCarthy said the case against him “will be reviewed under the NFL’s personal-conduct policy.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced in August that the league would revamp its disciplinary policy on domestic-violence incidents. Under the new guidelines, any NFL player or employee found guilty of such action will receive a six-game suspension for a first offense and an indefinite suspension for a second offense. However, the new policy contains special language regarding what occurs when the incident in question occurs “in the presence of a child,” although the penalty to be levied in such instances is unclear.
The charge against Peterson arose as the NFL faces continued criticism for its handling of a domestic-violence incident involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. The NFL announced Monday Rice would be indefinitely suspended after surveillance footage revealed he knocked then-fiancée Janay Palmer unconscious during a February domestic dispute.
Goodell said nobody in his office saw the surveillance footage until it was made public. However, an Associated Press report quoted a law-enforcement official who claims to have sent the video to the NFL’s offices and received confirmation that it had arrived.
An independent committee led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller began an investigation into the NFL’s handling of the Rice case Thursday. Critics have questioned whether Mueller -- who is a partner at a law firm with close ties to the league -- can remain impartial during the investigation.