Adrian Peterson, the NFL superstar currently serving out a suspension from the league following charges related to child abuse, has promised to never use a tree branch to discipline his children in the future.
“I won’t ever use a switch again,” Peterson told USA Today in an exclusive interview published Thursday. “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.”
Peterson’s story drew national headlines when photos surfaced of his 4-year-old son’s injuries following a disciplining at the hands of his father. The news broke amid increased scrutiny of the NFL in the wake of a domestic violence incident involving ex-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancée. Peterson never denied being responsible but claimed that he was simply using a form of discipline he was culturally accustomed to.
“I got paddled at school,” Peterson told USA Today. “People up north don’t know anything about that, about going to the principal’s office and getting three swats on your behind with a board with a hole cut in it.”
Peterson was charged with injury to a child – a felony – and pleaded no contest to lesser reckless assault charges in a plea deal to avoid jail time.
The NFL recently ruled that Peterson would have to sit out the rest of this ongoing season, a decision that has received widespread criticism from fans, pundits and the NFL players’ union. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has argued that Peterson has shown “no remorse” following the incident.
In his USA Today interview, Peterson said that he would like to return to the franchise where he has spent his entire record-breaking career, the Minnesota Vikings, but it appears that may be unlikely.
“I would love to go back and play in Minnesota to get a feel and just see if my family still feels comfortable there,” Peterson said. “But if there’s word out that hey, they might release me, then so be it. I would feel good knowing that I’ve given everything I had in me.”
Meanwhile, Peterson said he is doing the difficult work of repairing his relationship with his young son.
Peterson told USA Today: “I love my son. I love my kids, my family. Like I said after I took the misdemeanor plea, I take full responsibility for my actions. I regret the situation. I love my son more than any one of you could even imagine.”