A bad week for the National Football League just got worse.
In the wake of the NFL’s growing controversy over Ray Rice’s exposed violence, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted in Houston, Texas, on a charge of injury to a child. He turned himself in to the Montgomery County Jail early Saturday morning.
NBC News’s Houston affiliate KPRC released a media advisory from the local sheriff’s office that confirms at 2:47 p.m. CT on Friday “a warrant was issued and entered for the arrest of Adrian Peterson for that charge.” The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office’s statement also stated that officials would not be discussing any other details about the case or their investigation. Peterson was released after posting $15,000 in bond. Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon expects a trial date sometime next year.
Friday afternoon the Vikings released a brief statement on Peterson’s indictment. It reads, in full:
The Vikings are in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation involving Adrian Peterson. At this time, we will defer further questions to Adrian’s attorney Rusty Hardin.
A call to Peterson’s attorney by msnbc was not immediately returned. However, Hardin did provide a statement, confirming the charge against Peterson “involves using a switch to spank his son.” The statement also twice points out that Peterson is fully cooperating with authorities. Hardin’s statement then addresses the charge thusly:
Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas… It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.
NBC Sports reports that Peterson missed Thursday’s practice with his Viking teammates and that the team did not give an explanation. The team did say, however, that Peterson was not injured.
Though Peterson was back at practice on Friday, the Vikings have deactivated him from Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.
On Friday afternoon, Peterson’s official Twitter account posted only one tweet. It included an inspiration message that reads in part, “It’s your season! Weapons may form but won’t prosper!”
The news could not have come at a worse time for the NFL, which is already embroiled in controversy after this week’s release of a video tape showing former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer Rice.
On Friday, Rice’s indefinite suspension from the league was made official by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell says Rice misled him about what happened when they met earlier in the summer to discuss the incident.
Also on Friday, the NFL Players Association approved the league’s drug policy proposal after a unanimous vote by player representatives. As such, some players who have drug-related suspensions will either have their suspensions reduced, or eliminated altogether.
Goodell, meanwhile, is facing harsh criticism and calls for his resignation for how he has handled the controversy surrounding Rice who was released on Monday by the Ravens. Initially, Rice was given only a two-game suspension for his behavior. That all changed after the gossip news site TMZ released the tape showing the entire attack.
Some fans in Baltimore are still supporting Rice. When the Ravens played the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, some wore Rice’s #27 Jersey. Still others as NBC Sports noted have made homemade signs with slogans like “WE LOVE #27” and “STOP!!! CASTING STONES WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES,” in the wake of Rice’s release and suspension.
Goodell and the league are also still facing scrutiny over the name of Washington DC’s NFL team which is viewed by many inside and outside the Native American community as a racial slur. In response to that controversy, Goodell said in September of 2013, “If one person is offended, we have to listen.”
Months later, Goodell insisted that the name instead “honors Native Americans.”
Goodell, at least for now, seems to have retained the support of the league’s team owners.