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I'm not a child abuser, says reinstated NFL star Adrian Peterson

After being charged with injuring his four-year old son with the branch of a tree, the player could feature in the Minnesota Vikings’ next game.

Image: Tom Gannam/AP/Press Association Images

MINNESOTA VIKINGS RUNNING BACK Adrian Peterson, reinstated earlier today by the NFL team, declared he was not a child abuser despite charges of injuring his four-year-old son with blows from the branch of a tree.

Peterson, who was deactivated from the playing roster for Sunday’s 30-7 home loss to new England, is able to return to practice with plans to play next Sunday at New Orleans.

The Vikings sidelined Peterson last Friday after he was charged with reckless or negligent injury to a child after using a tree branch to spank his son with blows so hard he still bore the marks days later. In a statement released by the Vikings, Peterson said:

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.”

Peterson surrendered himself to Texas authorities early Saturday morning and was released on bail with a trial not expected until next year, after the end of the season.

“I accept the fact that people feel very strongly about this issue and what they think about my conduct,” Peterson said. “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.”

Peterson was hit as a child

Peterson said he was imposing the same discipline to his son that had been used upon him as a child.

Vikings Rams Football Peterson, seen here in action against St.Louis on 7th September, could be back in the Vikings' roster for their next game. Source: L.G. Patterson/AP/Press Association Images

“I have learned a lot and have had to re-evaluate how I discipline my son going forward,” Peterson said. “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.

Peterson said he has met with a psychologist over the matter.

“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.”

Peterson said his attorney has asked that his not discuss details of the case.

“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,” Peterson said. “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.”

Vikings Titans Football Source: Mark Zaleski

Peterson said he told a grand jury and two different police interviews without a lawyer that it was never his intention to harm his son.

Vikings owners vow vigilance

Before Peterson’s statement, Vikings’ owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, in a statement on the team’s website, defended their decision to let legal matters play out before making any more steps to bench the star rusher.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support Adrian’s fulfillment of his legal responsibilities throughout this process,” the Wilfs said in their statement.

“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.”

Peterson’s scandal hit the world’s richest sports league the same week the league saw an uproar over star rusher Ray Rice, who was fired by the Baltimore Ravens and banned indefinitely by the NFL after a video was released showing him brutally punching the woman who is now his wife in a hotel elevator.

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