Four years after he was indicted by a grand jury on a felony charge for reckless or negligent injury to a child and suspended by the NFL, Adrian Peterson admitted that he still disciplines his kids using physical forms of punishment.
Speaking with Master Tesfatsion of Bleacher Report, Peterson said that he recently spanked his son with a belt. He also didn’t entirely rule out using a switch when he disciplines his kids. While he said that he sometimes uses other forms of punishment like taking away their electronic devices, placing them in timeout, and forcing them to do wall squats, he maintained that physical forms of punishment are sometimes necessary.
“I had to discipline my son and spank him the other day with a belt,” Peterson told Bleacher Report.
Later, he said that he avoids using a switch “nine times out of 10.”
Here’s an excerpt from Bleacher Report’s story:
“There’s different ways I discipline my kids,” he says. “I didn’t let that change me.”
Spankings are sometimes necessary, though, he insists, especially after repeat offenses. (The belt incident came after he gave his son four chances to correct his wrong.) Peterson says he finds comfort in knowing these lessons will help his children make better decisions in the future. Corporal punishment helped him become the man he is today, after all — a man who loves his kids. “My kids love me. When they want something, they come ask dad,” he says. “They enjoy being around me.”
In 2014, a grand jury indicted Peterson on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. Peterson later reached a plea agreement, avoiding jail time by pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault. During the 2014 season, Peterson played in only one game with the Vikings as a result of the case, spending most the year on the exempt list before he got suspended for the remainder of the season. He returned for the 2015 season after getting reinstated by the NFL in the offseason.
When the NFL suspended him indefinitely at the time, commissioner Roger Goodell wrote: “You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy.”
“I won’t ever use a switch again,” Peterson said, per USA Today. “There’s different situations where a child needs to be disciplined as far as timeout, taking their toys away, making them take a nap. There’s so many different ways to discipline your kids.”
It’s not clear if Peterson could face legal issues for his recent admission. It’s also not clear if the NFL will view Peterson’s comments as failing to “properly care for” his children. As Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith pointed out, the NFL could punish Peterson regardless of how the situation plays out legally. An arrest isn’t a prerequisite for a suspension.
Peterson spent 10 seasons with the Vikings, where he established himself as arguably the best running back of his generation. However, since the beginning of the 2017 season, Peterson has bounced around the league, playing for New Orleans, Arizona, and Washington. He landed with the Redskins just before the season after they lost Derrius Guice to a season-ending injury. In Washington, he’s experienced a resurgence, totaling 891 yards and seven touchdowns from scrimmage in 10 games.
Peterson, 33, ranks ninth all time in career rushing yards with 12,999.