MINNEAPOLIS (AFP) — NFL star running back Adrian Peterson turned himself in to Texas authorities early Saturday, hours after he was indicted on charges of hitting his four-year-old son with a tree branch.
ESPN.com said Peterson was booked into the Montgomery County, Texas jail around 1:06 am and released about half an hour later after posting the $15,000 bond.
He has been indicted by a grand jury on charges reckless or negligent injury to a child.
The emerging scandal is only the latest to hit the world’s richest sports league.
The NFL is also reeling from the uproar caused by a surveillance video of former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice brutally punching the woman who is now his wife in a hotel elevator.
The charges against Peterson were in connection with disciplining his four-year-old son.
The Minnesota Vikings running back allegedly hit the boy with a tree branch as a form of discipline over the summer.
The punishment allegedly resulted in multiple injuries to the boy, Houston’s CBS radio 650 said.
The league’s former most valuable player was summoned by a grand jury in Texas, his lawyer said, reportedly on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child.
The Vikings said it was “in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation,” deferring questions to Peterson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin.
Hardin acknowledged that the six-time Pro Bowl honoree was the subject of an investigation and said he has been cooperating with officials.
“Adrian is a loving father who used his judgement as a parent to discipline his son,” Hardin said, noting the player had also been spanked himself as a child.
“Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours,” the lawyer said.
“It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.”
Peterson’s other son, a two-year-old, died in South Dakota 11 months ago after allegedly being assaulted by a boyfriend of the boy’s mom.
It was only a couple months before the boy’s death that Peterson had learned he was his father.
Peterson, who is in his eighth NFL season, was deactivated from Sunday’s home opener against the New England Patriots.
He is one of the top running backs of all-time, rushing for 10,115 yards in his first seven years in the league.
Peterson ran for 75 yards on 21 carries in Minnesota’s season opener last week, a 34-6 win at St. Louis. He ran for 1,266 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.
Rice was cut from the Ravens and suspended indefinitely when the video surfaced months after the incident — but he was initially hit with a two-game suspension, a punishment roundly criticized as far too lenient.
The NFL is conducting an independent investigation into its handling of the incident, as some pressed for league boss Roger Goodell to resign.