Adrian Peterson would love to have a face-to-face conversation with Roger Goodell, the man who on Tuesday suspended him without pay for at least the rest of this NFL season two weeks after the Minnesota Vikings running back’s no-contest plea to a misdemeanor reckless assault charge.
What will Peterson tell the NFL commissioner if he gets that opportunity?
“Don’t say that I’m not remorseful,” Peterson said in an interview with USA Today on Thursday, “because in my statement, I showed that I was remorseful. I regretted everything that took place. I love my child, more than anyone could ever imagine.”
Peterson pleaded no contest Nov. 4 in Texas to reduced charges of misdemeanor reckless assault for hitting his son with a tree switch, leaving scratches and welts on the child’s body. In making the deal, he avoided jail time and received probation, a $4,000 fine and 80 hours of community service.
In a scathing letter to Peterson made public Tuesday, Goodell stated that one of the reasons for the extended suspension was that the 2012 league MVP had not shown “meaningful remorse” for his actions.
Peterson said that claim is just not true.
“No one knows how I felt when I turned my child around after spanking him and seeing what I had left on his leg,” Peterson said in the interview. “No one knows that Dad sat there and apologized to him, hugged him and told him that I didn’t mean to do this to you and how sorry I was.”
All along Peterson has said he was disciplining his son the same way his parents once disciplined him. But, he told USA Today, Peterson didn’t realize the switch was wrapping around his son’s leg and leaving marks.
“I take full responsibility, because I spanked my child, and no matter what my intentions were, I end up leaving those marks on his legs,” said Peterson, whose suspension was appealed by the NFL Players Assn. on Thursday. “That’s the bottom line.”
Goodell also stated in his letter to Peterson: “When indicted, you acknowledged what you did but said that you would not ‘eliminate whooping my kids’ and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child’s mother.
“These comments raise the serious concern that you do not fully appreciate the seriousness of your conduct, or even worse, that you may feel free to engage in similar conduct in the future.”
But Peterson, who says he has been seeing a therapist as well as a pastor certified in counseling, told USA Today that won’t happen.
“I won’t ever use a switch again,” he said. “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.”