(NEW YORK) — Running back Adrian Peterson says he has changed his perspective on child discipline after facing child abuse charges and an ongoing suspension from the NFL.
“I won’t ever use a switch again,” he said in an interview published Thursday by USA Today, his first extensive comments since being charged with felony child abuse in September in Texas.
“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 child.”
The six-time All-Pro was charged for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son, leaving bruises and welts. He agreed to a plea deal with no jail time earlier this month, pleading no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault.
Peterson’s bail terms prohibit him from having face-to-face contact with the boy, but Peterson said they recently spoke over the phone, their first conversation in five months.
“I was like, ‘Hey buddy, how you doing?’” Peterson, 29, said, recounting the conversation to USA Today.
“I’m doing OK,” the boy said.
“I was like, ‘I love you.’”
“He was like, ‘I love you too, Dad. Can I come over to your house?’”
Peterson’s latest comments mark a departure from his statements days after he was indicted. At the time, he said, “I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child.” Without that discipline, “I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets,” he said.
Peterson acknowledged that leaving the Minnesota Vikings might be the best for both him and the team.
"I would love to go back and play in Minnesota to get a feel and just see if my family still feels comfortable there," he told USA Today. "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."
The former NFL MVP is suspended by the league without pay, a punishment the NFL Players Association has appealed.
Peterson disagrees with the sentiments of Commissioner Roger Goodell, who stated that Peterson failed to show “meaningful remorse” for his conduct.
"Ultimately, I know I'll have my opportunity to sit down with Roger face to face, and I'll be able to say a lot of the same things that I've said to you," Peterson told USA Today. "Don't say that I'm not remorseful, 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."
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