By Jim Hagerty
The Minnesota Vikings organization has reversed its decision to reactivate Adrian Peterson while the running back fights allegations of child abuse.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, Sept. 17, the team announced Peterson has been placed on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list. That means he is now barred from having any contact with the team and team activities while he addresses his legal problems in Texas.
The move comes a day after the Vikings reactivated Peterson for Sunday’s game in New Orleans. The six-time Pro Bowler did not play in last week’s loss to the Patriots, after being indicted on felony child abuse charges.
Peterson is being accused of using a switch to spank his 4-year-old son earlier this year when the boy was visiting him in Montgomery County, Texas. Prosecutors say Peterson caused “slash-like wounds” to his son’s legs.
According to a police report, the boy was punished after he pushed one of his siblings off a motorcycle video game. Peterson admitted to using the switch to administer the punishment but says he didn’t intend to hurt him.
The boy told his mother about the spanking during a Skype call. She took him to a doctor when he returned to Garden Prairie, Minnesota.
Wednesday’s decision to deactivate Peterson came after owners claim the team received angry comments from fans and significant blowback from sponsors in light of the allegations. Several stores have pulled Peterson’s jersey from shelves while Special Olympics Minnesota has severed ties with him. Other sponsors have also suspended agreements with Peterson.
“While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection, we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian,” owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said in a statement. “We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time, we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community.”
Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, told the Associated Press Peterson will use the time away from the team to clear up the situation in Texas.
“This is the best possible outcome given the circumstances,” Dogra said. “Adrian understands the gravity of the situation and this enables him to take care of his personal situation. We fully support Adrian, and he looks forward to watching his teammates and coaches being successful during his absence.”
Peterson rushed for 1,266 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013. The 29-year-old former Oklahoma star is in his eighth year with the Vikings. Peterson was the seventh player chosen in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
Peterson is the second NFL running back at the center of recent league conduct controversy. Ray Rice has been suspended indefinitely after a video surfaced of him punching his then-fiancee inside a casino elevator. A video of Rice pulling an unconscious Janay Palmer out of the elevator had already been released, and Rice admitted to the abuse. He was serving a two-game suspension when the second video was leaked by TMZ. Within hours of the video’s release, Rice was cut by the Ravens and suspended by the NFL.