NFL to review Adrian Peterson case for 'potential discipline'

(Reuters) - The National Football League said on Thursday it would review for “potential discipline” Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, following his plea agreement on child abuse charges.

Dec 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) talks on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

While it studies the case under its Personal Conduct Policy, the NFL said Peterson would remain on its Exempt List, meaning he will not play but receive his full $11.75 million salary.

Peterson, 29, reached a plea deal on Tuesday to charges of abusing his 4-year-old son that would see the former NFL Most Valuable Player avoid jail time.

He was arrested in September for hitting his son with a switch, or thin three branch, as a form of discipline. The switch caused welts over parts of the child’s body.

The six-time Pro Bowl running back has taken responsibility for his actions, saying he loves his son and was handing out the same type of discipline he received as a youth.

Peterson pleaded no contest in a Conroe, Texas, courtroom to a misdemeanor assault charge and must pay a $4,000 fine and perform community service.

“The NFL advised Adrian Peterson this afternoon that following his plea agreement to resolve his criminal case in Texas his matter will now be reviewed for potential discipline under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy,” the NFL said in a statement.

Separately, shoe and apparel company Nike said on Thursday it terminated its contract with Peterson after suspending the deal in September.

The NFL has been under fire for what was widely viewed as a soft stance on domestic abuse and recently strengthened its sanctions against such crimes.

Peterson can request a hearing before any NFL sanctions, according to the league statement.

The NFL said it requested that Peterson “submit relevant information regarding his case and meet with designated experts,” who will make recommendations on possible discipline to Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Peterson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, told Reuters through a spokeswoman on Thursday that he “welcomes the NFL taking a thorough, and hopefully expeditious, look at this matter.”

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Hardin said Peterson, who has played in only one game this year, was ready to get back on the field and should not receive additional sanctions.

The Vikings absorbed heavy criticism for holding Peterson out for only one game until one of its sponsors, hotel chain Radisson, suspended its contract with the team.

Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney