Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who missed the team's Week 2 game after being indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child, is once again in headlines for accusations in 2013 of a similar crime against another one of his young sons while disciplining him.
KHOU's Jeremy Rogalski's report stems from a series of text messages regarding the incident between Peterson and the mother of the child, which allegedly took place in June. After Peterson allegedly sent a picture showing the four-year-old boy's head wound covered in bandages, the following exchange played out:
Mother: 'What happened to his head?'
Peterson: 'Hit his head on the Carseat.'
Mother: 'How does that happen, he got a whoopin in the car.
Peterson: 'I felt so bad. But he did it his self.'
Rogalski paraphrased Peterson as going on to say he was "disciplining his son for cussing to a sibling," while pictures a few weeks later allegedly revealed the boy had a scar on his forehead.
TMZ added more details as to why charges were never filed:
Sources close to the investigation tell TMZ the reason the case went nowhere is because Adrian did NOT strike the boy in the forehead -- but instead the child accidentally hit his head on a carseat while Adrian was punishing him.
We're also told the form of discipline was "not impermissible." Under Texas law parents are allowed to administer reasonable punishment.
"It's absolutely criminal," said Randy Burton, who is a former chief prosecutor of family crimes, via Rogalski. "You break the skin, you have bleeding, much less permanent scars, that is a crime."
Both the mother and child are different individuals from the case that surfaced earlier this week, which revealed Peterson had used "a switch to spank his son," according to his attorney in a released statement. However, according to Rogalski, these newest claims can be used as extra evidence against Peterson in the original case.
Peterson's lawyer Rusty Hardin released a statement about the second incident via ESPN's Adam Schefter:
The Vikings issued a brief statement on the new allegations via the Sportscenter Twitter account:
Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post reports on Peterson's status for Week 3 in wake of the new allegation:
ESPN's Kevin Seifert reports that one major sponsor has already distanced itself from the Vikings:
This news comes just hours after Vikings owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf released a statement regarding Peterson's status, saying the star running back would suit up in Week 3. The statement read, in part:
To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child. At this time, however, we believe this is a matter of due process and we should allow the legal system to proceed so we can come to the most effective conclusions and then determine the appropriate course of action. This is a difficult path to navigate, and our focus is on doing the right thing. Currently we believe we are at a juncture where the most appropriate next step is to allow the judicial process to move forward.
USA Today's Josh Peter spoke with Peterson's childhood friend David Cummings about how the running back was treated by his father growing up with one particular story:
School officials had called Nelson Peterson to report that Adrian had been disruptive in class, recalled Cummings, who played football and basketball with Adrian Peterson during their youth and through high school.
"His dad asked what happened, and Adrian told him," Cummings said.
With that, Nelson Peterson unstrapped his belt and whipped Adrian Peterson in front of more than 20 students, Cummings said.
"We still talk about to this day," Cummings told USA TODAY Sports. "My dad was tough, but his dad was real tough."
Family and friends recall Nelson Peterson and, to a lesser extent Adrian's mother, Bonita Jackson, as parents who raised their son with a stern disciplinary style that included whippings. Then again, corporal punishment is accepted and expected in many families across the region, as well as in other parts of the country.
It also remains to be seen how this separate incident will impact the initial reported case against Peterson.