Embattled Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson will return to practice and team meetings ahead of Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints, the team announced Monday, Sept. 15.
“Today's decision was made after significant thought, discussion and consideration," the team's owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf said in a statement, per ESPN. "We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support Adrian's fulfillment of his legal responsibilities throughout this process."
The 2012 NFL MVP, 29, was deactivated by the Vikings last Friday, Sept. 12, after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. The halfback was indicted before a grand jury for causing an injury to his 4-year-old son after disciplining him with a thin tree branch back in May. He was booked Saturday in Montgomery County, Texas.
Peterson also released a statement on Monday about the incident. "My attorney has asked me not to discuss the facts of my pending case. I hope you can respect that request and help me honor it," he told fans. "Nevertheless, I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child."
The NFL star went on to say he "never wanted to be a distraction" to his team. "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," Peterson said. "I voluntarily appeared before the grand jury several weeks ago to answer any and all questions they had. Before my grand jury appearance, I was interviewed by two different police agencies without an attorney. In each of these interviews I have said the same thing, and that is that I never ever intended to harm my son. I will say the same thing once I have my day in court."
Peterson claimed that his upbringing was a big factor in what led him to allegedly beat his son. "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," he said.
Peterson also said he's understood how to be a better parent and disciplinarian after meeting with a psychologist. "I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward," the father 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."
The player concluded his statement by admitting his failures. "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," Peterson claimed. "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… 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."
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