Adrian Peterson is coming back to the Minnesota Vikings two days after he was charged with child abuse for using a tree branch to spank his four-year-old son, and the star running back said yesterday he is not a child abuser and wants "everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child."
Peterson, considered one of the best running backs in the NFL, was benched for Sunday's 30-7 home loss to the New England and he had not commented publicly since news broke on Friday that he had lashed the boy with the switch earlier this summer, causing an unspecified injuries.
"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," Peterson said in a nearly 500-word statement issued through his agency. "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 said they had decided to bring back Peterson for practice and Sunday's game at New Orleans "after significant thought, discussion and consideration."
Peterson faces an initial court appearance in Texas tomorrow on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child, which carries penalties of up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
"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," Peterson said. "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."