Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was booked and released from a Texas jail on a child abuse charge yesterday, adding to a tumultuous week for the NFL, which was already facing heavy criticism for its handling of a domestic violence case involving another star player.
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Peterson was processed at the Montgomery County jail and released on $15,000 bond, according to the sheriff’s office. He is charged with causing injury to a child age 14 or younger, allegedly by spanking one of his sons with a tree branch, on or around May 18.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Peterson remained in Texas after leaving the jail or if he returned to Minnesota. There was no activity outside of his home near Houston, and a man who answered the door at his home near Minneapolis said Peterson wasn’t there.
Peterson, widely considered the best running back in the NFL, won’t play today in Minnesota’s home opener against the New England Patriots. Shortly after the news of the indictment broke Friday, the Vikings announced that Peterson was benched for the game.
Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the league, said Peterson’s case “will be reviewed under the NFL’s personal conduct policy.”
Peterson’s arrest came with the NFL facing criticism for its handling of a domestic violence case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Now the league has another public relations problem with the charge of child abuse against an even bigger star in Peterson.
Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said his client “has never hidden from what happened” in the case. “Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas,” Hardin said Friday.
Commissioner Roger Goodell announced tougher penalties last month for players accused of domestic violence: six weeks for a first offense and at least a year for a second violation.
The stunning sequence of events reignited a debate about corporal punishment but also added fuel to a fire burning hot since Rice first received a two-game suspension for hitting his then-fiancee. The Ravens later dropped him.