In his first lengthy interview since he was indicted on child abuse charges in September, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson reiterated to USA Today on Thursday that he regrets harming his son, promising for the first time he "won't ever use a switch again."
Peterson's remarks came two days after the NFL announced that it was suspending Peterson without pay for at least the rest of the season and that he won't be considered for reinstatement until at least April 15.
In a letter to Peterson, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said one factor in the decision was that Peterson defended his conduct and didn't promise to "eliminate whooping" his kids.
Peterson adamantly denied those charges Thursday, again saying he didn't mean to harm his 4-year-old son. He revealed that he spoke to his son last week for the first time in five months.
"I won't ever use a switch again," Peterson said to USA TODAY. "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.
"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 said. "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."
After Peterson pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault on Nov. 4, the league held a hearing over conference call on Monday to determine whether Peterson should be further punished under the league's personal conduct policy. Peterson had been placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List after he was originally indicted on felony charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child.
The NFLPA announced Thursday it would appeal the NFL's ruling, saying the league isn't sticking to previously announced discipline guidelines and calling for a neutral arbitrator to hear Peterson's appeal.
Peterson didn't attend a disciplinary hearing with the NFL last Friday, saying Thursday he skipped it because he "didn't know what to expect."
The 29-year-old also said that he's confident he'll play again in the NFL in the future, that he would be open to remaining with the Vikings or potentially changing teams and that he has been seeing a therapist out of Washington, D.C., and a pastor near his home outside Houston who is certified in counseling.
An eight-year veteran, Peterson has rushed for 10,190 yards in his career.
- Ben Estes