Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is expected to be back on the field Sunday when Minnesota takes on New Orleans after being reinstated by the team. Peterson was held out of this week’s game after he was indicted by a grand jury in Texas on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child.
The decision to reinstate Peterson is making waves among the talking heads at ESPN and other sports media outlets, and the Vikings owners made it clear that they understand the severity of the charges but they also want to let due process run its course.
“Today’s decision was made after significant thought, discussion and consideration. As evidenced by our decision to deactivate Adrian from yesterday’s game, this is clearly a very important issue,” owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf said in a statement. “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.”
Child Abuse Charges
The public first learned of the child abuse charges Friday afternoon, and the Vikings quickly made the decision to deactivate Peterson for the Sunday’s home opener. According to a statement from his attorney Rusty Hardin, the charges stem from an incident where Peterson used “a switch to spank his son.” For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a switch is basically a small twig or tree branch.
“Parents are entitled to discipline their children as they see fit, except when that discipline exceeds what the community would say is reasonable,” Hardin said about the incident. According to the grand jury, Peterson’s actions exceeded a reasonable standard.
Peterson will make his first appearance on Wednesday, where he is expected to enter a plea. Peterson will appear in court over the next several weeks, but many involved in the case believe it will be a few months before the case goes to trial.
Child Abuse Penalties
Peterson was officially charged with one count of injury to a child and could be sentenced to up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. He could also be placed on probation and be forced to attend counseling.
In addition to penalties levied by the state of Texas, Peterson could face additional discipline from the NFL. The league recently announced a new domestic violence policy that includes any physical harm, so it’s certainly possible that Peterson would be subject to penalties. Under the new policy, a first time offender would receive a six game suspension and a second violation would result in a lifetime ban.
Related source: ESPN