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Adrian Peterson sorry for ‘hurt I have brought to my child’

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Posted at 12:56 PM, Sep 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-15 15:28:11-04
Adrian Peterson (Montgomery County Sheriff Office)

Adrian Peterson (Montgomery County Sheriff Office)

(CNN) – Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will practice this week and can play in Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints, despite facing a child abuse charge, team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said in a statement Monday.

“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,” the Vikings’ statement said.

Peterson, who was kept out of Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, turned himself in to East Texas authorities Saturday, two days after an indictment alleged the 29-year-old father did “recklessly or by criminal negligence cause bodily injury” to his son, a felony.

Peterson quickly posted $15,000 in bail and was released, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

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In his first comments on the case, Peterson said in a statement posted on his Twitter feed, “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.”

Despite being advised by his attorney not to discuss details of the case, Peterson wrote, “I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child.”

He said that he voluntarily appeared before a grand jury and told its members the same thing, which also matches what he said he told two different police agencies about the incident.

“I will say the same thing once I have my day in court,” he wrote.

In disciplining his son in the same manner as Peterson himself was disciplined as a child, he wrote, he unintentionally caused the boy injury. He understands that there are people who disagree with this form of discipline, he said, and he has met with a psychologist who informed him of more “appropriate” ways to discipline children.

“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,” he wrote. “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’s attorney said his client used “a switch to spank his son” and was simply doling out discipline much like “he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas.”

Peterson “will continue to insist on his innocence of any intended wrongdoing,” attorney Rusty Hardin said Friday.

Photos obtained by TMZ allegedly show Peterson’s son’s leg covered in marks that could have come from a switch, or thin tree branch. Some of the marks in the photo appeared to have broken the skin.

Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Phil Grant, whose office made the case against Peterson to a grand jury over a period of weeks, said prosecutors “will take this charge extremely seriously and we look forward to presenting this case to a jury.”

According to Texas law, people can be convicted of injury to a child if they cause bodily or mental injury “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence” or cause such harm by omission. The crime is punishable by up to two years in a state jail and a $1,000 fine.

In Texas, someone can defend himself against a charge of injury to a child if he can prove it happened while he was administering “reasonable discipline,” Grant said.

“Obviously, parents are entitled to discipline their children as they see fit, except for when that discipline exceeds what the community would say is reasonable,” he said. “And so, a grand jury, having indicted this case, looked at the injuries that were inflicted upon this child and determined that that discipline was not reasonable.”

As the NFL reviews the running back’s actions under its personal conduct policy, the Vikings owners said they will “monitor the situation closely.”

“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,” the Monday statement said. “This is a difficult path to navigate, and our focus is on doing the right thing.”

Referring to the decision to keep Peterson out of Sunday’s game, the Vikings owners, who are brothers, said, “On Friday, we felt it was in the best interests of the organization to step back, evaluate the situation, and not rush to judgment given the seriousness of this matter. At that time, we made the decision that we felt was best for the Vikings and all parties involved.”

Peterson is considered one of the best running backs in the NFL — if not the best. His absence was probably felt during the Vikings’ 30-7 loss to the Patriots on Sunday.

In 2011, he agreed to a lucrative contract, which NFL.com reported would be worth $100 million over a 7-year period.