NFL Star Adrian Peterson Cleared to Play by Vikings, Speaks Publicly on Child Abuse Charge

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Adrian Peterson

"My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that's what I tried to do that day"

Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson has been cleared to return to the football field by his team, just two days after he was charged with abusing his 4-year-old child.

The running back was arrested in Texas for using a wooden switch to discipline his son, which caused visible injuries and sparked public controversy. Peterson issued a statement Monday through his agency (and Twitter) that spanned nearly 500 words.

"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," said Peterson in the statement. "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."

Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf announced that Peterson would resume team practices and play Sunday's game in New Orleans. "Today’s decision was made after significant thought, discussion and consideration," the two said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. "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."

The reinstated player is due to make an initial court appearance on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child, which is punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. "I never ever intended to harm my son. I will say the same thing once I have my day in court," Peterson said of his intentions.

His statement also offered an explanation for his behavior: such is how he was disciplined as a child. He added that he has met with a psychologist to adopt more appropriate disciplinary methods. "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."

He concluded, "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."

Despite the player's lengthy statement of remorse, TMZ reported that Peterson allegedly sent text messages to his son's mother after striking the child in the testicles. "Got him in the nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I'm all tearing that butt up when needed!" read one, followed by, "Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has the biggest heart but don't play no games when it comes to acting right."

Read Peterson's full statement below:

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.

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