© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Vikings' Adrian Peterson Pleads No Contest In Child Abuse Case

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson arrives at the courthouse for an appearance Tuesday in Conroe, Texas. He pleaded no contest in his child abuse case, avoiding jail time.
Pat Sullivan

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson pleaded no contest in his child abuse case, avoiding jail time after being indicted in September for using a wooden switch to punish his 4-year-old son.

The Associated Press reports that a judge in Conroe, Texas, agreed to the plea deal.

As we reported in September, Peterson was facing felony child abuse charges related to an injury to one of his sons who was visiting Peterson in Texas in May. The boy's mother noticed his injuries when he returned home to Minnesota. She took him to a doctor, who contacted authorities in Texas to report Peterson.

Today's plea deal, NPR's Nathan Rott tells us, reduces the charges against Peterson to misdemeanor reckless assault.

Peterson has maintained that he did not intend to harm his son, but the Vikings banned him from team activities. It's unclear how today's plea deal affects his status.

The case reignited the debate over corporal punishment in the U.S., where a majority of parents still use it to discipline their children.

Elizabeth Gershoff, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, told NPR in September that around three-quarters of American parents spank their children at least once a year or so. And, she said, corporal punishment is legal in 19 states.

Gershoff told NPR's Robert Siegel that while the use of corporal punishment varies by race – African-Americans spank more than other groups, whites and Latinos spank about the same, and Asian-Americans spank the least – there are no differences in the effects of spanking on children.

"[W]e found that even though African-American parents do spank more often, it's not more effective at increasing children's positive behavior and in fact has the opposite effect and increases children's aggressive behavior over time," she said.

NPR's Gene Demby, of our Code Switch team, wrote about whether corporal punishment was , in fact, abuse. You can read his piece here.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.