The NFL has recently fallen under fire and intense scrutiny on its handling of a number of cases involving domestic violence by its players. Adrian Peterson, Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2007, second rookie ever to win ProBowl MVP, 2012 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, holder of nine NFL records, and the Minnesota Vikings’ star running back, is one of the players singled out for his actions off the field. Recently, Peterson was indicted by grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. He is also facing previous felony charges in Texas for child abuse. There, he faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if found guilty.
The charges he faces have sparked a national discussion about corporal punishment in parenting and whether Peterson crossed the line when disciplining his son. After his son pushed a sibling, the Viking whipped him with a tree branch that left cuts and bruises all over his body. The child is reported to have said that he was afraid he was going to be punched in the face by his father if he told authorities.
Peterson turned himself into officials soon after he was notified of the indictment on the charges of reckless or negligent injury and spent about 30 minutes in jail before he posted $15,000 bond. Most defendants charged with negligent injury to a child are released on probation if their records are otherwise clean. A court date for his other child abuse charge has yet to be set.
Commissioner Roger Goodell announced new penalties for players accused of domestic violence last month that say that players will be deactivated for six weeks for a first offense and at least a year for a second. Any cases involving “aggravating circumstances such as the presence or use of a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child” will see more severe discipline. It seems that Peterson’s charges would fall under that category.The Vikings, having initially deactivated the running back for a single game, have taken him off their bench and have stated that he must stay away from all team activities until his felony child abuse case is settled. His sponsorship deal with Nike has also been revoked.