Adrian Peterson entered his no-contest plea today to misdemeanor reckless assault in connection with the whipping of his 4-year-old son, and after leaving the courtroom he told reporters that he wants to leave this episode of his life behind him.
“I want to say I truly regret this incident. I stand here and I take full responsibility for my actions. I love my son more than any one of you can even imagine. I’m looking forward, and I’m anxious to continue my relationship with my child. I’m just glad this is over, I can put this behind me, and me and my family can begin to move forward,” Peterson said.
Legally, Peterson can put this behind him by paying a $4,000 fine, serving 80 hours of community service, taking parenting classes and spending two years on probation. If Peterson complies with all of that, this case will be cleared from his record.
What is less clear is what this means for the NFL. Currently, Peterson is on the commissioner’s exempt list, which basically means he’s on paid leave. But now that the legal case is over, the NFL will need to decide whether to reinstate Peterson or whether to suspend him without pay. If he’s not suspended, the Vikings will have to decide whether to welcome him back or release him.
The NFL has given no indication what decision it will make. After getting the Ray Rice case spectacularly wrong, Roger Goodell needs to get this case right.