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Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was reinstated by the team on Monday, a day after he was benched for the team’s game against the New England Patriots, following his arrest on child abuse charges.
But Minnesota governor Mark Dayton disagrees with the decision and has called on the NFL team to keep one of its biggest stars on the bench until the accusations against Peterson have been resolved.
In a statement obtained by ESPN, Dayton notes that Peterson is “entitled to due process and should be ‘innocent until proven guilty’ ” but adds that his actions, as they’ve been described, “are a public embarrassment to the Vikings organization and the State of Minnesota.”
“Whipping a child to the extent of visible wounds, as has been alleged, should not be tolerated in our state. Therefore, I believe the team should suspend Mr. Peterson, until the accusations of child abuse have been resolved by the criminal justice system,” Dayton says, according to ESPN.
Meanwhile, Vikings great Fran Tarkenton told Fox News that he is “embarrassed” by the team’s decision to allow Peterson to play this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
“These are serious accusations,” Tarkenton continued. “And the only way you’re going to get the attention of an NFL player is to take away his paycheck and take him off the field. This is way above winning or losing a football game. I strongly disagree with the notion of playing him this week.”
Tarkenton added that he feels that the Vikings are sending a message that “winning is more important than defending a 4-year-old child.”
The Radisson hotel chain on Monday backed away from its Vikings sponsorship in the wake of the accusations against Peterson.
“Radisson takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children,” the company said in a statement. “We are closely following the situation and effective immediately, Radisson is suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances.”
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James Gordon Meek