WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Adrian Peterson is ready to return to the Minnesota Vikings following his plea deal on child abuse charges and it would be “just horrible” if the NFL compares his case to other instances of domestic violence, his lawyer told Reuters on Wednesday.
Peterson, a former NFL most valuable player, pleaded no contest Tuesday to misdemeanor reckless assault to resolve his felony child abuse case involving his 4-year-old son.
Rusty Hardin, Peterson’s high-profile lawyer, said it was time to have the running back’s name taken off NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s “exempt list” and let him suit up.
“I hope that they get to this thing right away and let what’s happened in the courts be sufficient and let him go back and play football,” Hardin said in a telephone interview.
“There’s no real need for anything else to be done. He’s ready to go.”
Peterson, 29, faced abuse charges for disciplining his son in May with a “switch,” a thin tree branch, but he avoided jail time with the plea deal. The beating left welts on much of the child’s body.
“There’s no suggestion from anyone that he’s an abusive parent,” said Hardin. “He’s readily admitted he never wanted to injure his son and he feels very badly about it.”
The National Football League has been under fire for the last six months over its perceived light sanctions in cases involving domestic abuse and sexual assault.
Several players implicated in domestic abuse cases have also been placed on the exempt list, which takes the player off the field but continues to pay them their full salary.
“Any other private employer, whether it’s an oil company or a car company, they would look at each individual employee’s conduct,” said Hardin, who has defended many notable sports stars, including Roger Clemens.
“They just can’t say, ‘Anybody who sells cars has to be punished the same way.’ It would be tremendously unfair to lump these people together. It would be just horrible.”
The NFL said it would review Peterson’s case but could provide no timetable on when or if he would be taken off the list.
Peterson said he had disciplined his son the same way he had been when he was growing up.
”Everybody agrees he didn’t mean for it to happen,“ said Hardin. ”He was remorseful from the moment he discovered it. He made a mistake. He’s accepted responsibility.
“He’s paid a big price in both reputation and personal punishment. How much more do you want to punish somebody?”
Editing by Eric Walsh