With the world still outraged by the NFL's handling of the Ray Rice case, another shocking incident of violence is threatening to further unravel the league: On Friday, a warrant for the arrest of NFL star Adrian Peterson was issued on child abuse charges; a day later, he turned himself in. He was taken into custody in Texas early Saturday, but released on a bond of $15,000.
According to MyFox 26, the Minnesota Vikings running back was charged for "reckless or negligent injury to a child." The incident reportedly involved the use of a "switch" — which, for those of you unfamiliar with corporal punishment lingo, means a stripped-down tree branch — on Peterson's 4-year-old son, who was visiting for the summer. (Normally, he lives with his mother.) The "whooping" was allegedly in punishment for his pushing his brother off a video game — according to a CBS report, the boy ended up with significant cuts and bruises on his thighs, bottom, hands, and back. (You can see images of the injuries here, but really, you don't want to.)
It was only after the kid was back in his mother's house in Minnesota, though, that the wounds were noticed (think about that, for a minute: they must have lasted for a while). The doctor noticed one of the bruises during a checkup and was immediately concerned about child abuse. On Friday, Peterson was indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas, for injury to a child.
Peterson admitted to hitting the child, and, after a warrant was put out for his arrest, he turned himself in to the police. But he maintains that it was just a normal spanking, similar to what he would get growing up, and that he never meant to cause so much harm. Said his lawyer in a statement Friday:
This indictment follows Adrian’s full cooperation with authorities who have been looking into this matter. 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. Adrian has never hidden from what happened ... 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 never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.
Because the incident has come in the wake of a national furor over the Ray Rice case (it's not a scandal, by the way, because unpunished domestic violence isn't scandalous, it's horrifying), all eyes will now be watching how the NFL handles this incident. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Vikings have known about the alleged child abuse for weeks now, although they apparently thought Peterson had been cleared of the charges. Already, though Peterson practiced with the Vikings on Friday, he's been deactivated from the team's Sunday game.
Really, it comes down to Roger Goodell, who, since Rice, has tried to save face by strengthening the league's policies for those involved in domestic violence— if Goodell plays by his own new rules, Peterson should be suspended for the next six games.
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