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Steve Gardner


USA TODAY

Published 8:58 PM EST Nov 21, 2018

On the field, the Washington Redskins’ Adrian Peterson has been one of this season’s pleasant surprises. The oldest starting running back in the league at age 33 is on pace for more than 1,150 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.

But the feel-good story took an abrupt turn with Peterson’s revelation in a recent interview that even after being suspended four years ago for using a switch on his young son, he still uses physical force to punish his children.

In a lengthy profile by Bleacher Report, Peterson admitted: “I had to discipline my son and spank him the other day with a belt.”

Though Peterson said it’s not the only form of discipline he uses, sometimes spankings are necessary for repeat offenses. 

“There’s different ways I discipline my kids,” he told Bleacher Report. “I didn’t let that (the 2014 incident) change me.”

Peterson was suspended by the NFL in 2014 after being charged with felony child abuse for beating his 4-year-old son with a switch. Evidence showed scars all over his son’s body.

Peterson sat out all but one game in the 2014 season as the NFL tried to figure out an acceptable punishment. He pleaded no contest to reduce the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor but ended up suspended without pay for the final six games. 

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In announcing the league’s decision, Commissioner Roger Goodell noted in a letter to Peterson that he would have to meet several conditions before he could be reinstated.

“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,” Goodell wrote.

After the decision, Peterson told USA TODAY Sports he “won’t ever use a switch again.”

However, when asked by Bleacher Report about that pledge, Peterson wavered: “Nine times out of 10 that’s not the case.”

Following publication of the article, Peterson’s agent, Ron Slavin, issued a statement emphasizing the importance Peterson places on being a good father and suggesting the reporter, Master Tesfatsion, violated Peterson’s trust.

“The writer attempted to focus on four years ago rather than who Adrian is now as a father,” Slavin said. “Since signing with the Redskins he has been an outstanding teammate and leader both on and off the field.”

Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner

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