One of the biggest Vikings fans in the state of Minnesota, governor Mark Dayton, called for the franchise to suspend running back Adrian Peterson.
“It is an awful situation,” said Dayton in a statement. “Yes, Mr. Peterson is entitled to due process and should be ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ However, he is a public figure; and his actions, as described, are a public embarrassment to the Vikings organization and the State of Minnesota. Whipping a child to the extent of visible wounds, as has been alleged, should not be tolerated in our state. Therefore, I believe the team should suspend Mr. Peterson, until the accusations of child abuse have been resolved by the criminal justice system.”
It is possible the NFL will intercede as soon as Wednesday. The league attempted to acquire the prosecutor’s file of the case, but was denied by Texas state officials, USA Today reported.
Dayton was instrumental in currying favor from the public and legislature for the construction of a new $1.3 billion stadium. He said the Peterson situation does not mean he will cease to be a Vikings fan, even as he feels disappointment toward the team.
“I will not turn my back on the Vikings and their fans, as some have suggested. The Vikings belong to Minnesota – and in Minnesota,” Dayton continued. “This has been the team’s only home; and our citizens, including myself, have been its most dedicated fans.”
Peterson’s case might not be heard in Texas until early next year.
He was indicted Friday on charges of child neglect and pictures and text messages that support allegations Peterson whipped his four-year-old son with a tree branch to the point of broken skin resulting in visible wounds became public.
Peterson was deactivated by the Vikings for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.
General manager Rick Spielman announced Monday that while the Vikings “take child welfare seriously,” Peterson would be reinstated this week to afford him due process in the court system.
Peterson issued a statement Monday but said his attorney, Rusty Hardin, advised him not to address the facts of the case.
“I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child,” Peterson’s statement read. “I never wanted to be a distraction to the Vikings organization, the Minnesota community or to my teammates. I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son.”