MINNEAPOLIS – After a day of public pressure from angry fans and concerned sponsors, the Minnesota Vikings have reversed course and placed star running back Adrian Peterson on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list, a move that will require him to stay away from the team while he addresses child abuse charges in Texas.
The Vikings made the announcement early Wednesday morning, about a day and a half after initially deciding that Peterson could play with the team while the legal process played out. Peterson is charged with a felony for using a wooden switch to spank his 4-year-old son.
The Vikings came under heavy criticism for their initial stance. Several sponsors responded by either suspending their deals with the Vikings or severing ties with Peterson.
“While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian,” owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said in a statement. “We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community.”
The about face came after a harrowing day on Tuesday that included the Radisson hotel chains suspending its sponsorship with the Vikings, and Papa John’s also considering doing the same.
Castrol Motor Oil, Special Olympics Minnesota and Mylan Inc. all severed ties with Peterson, and Twin Cities Nike stores pulled Peterson’s jerseys from its shelves.
In addition, Anheuser-Busch issued a strongly worded statement that said it was “disappointed and increasingly concerned” with the negative attention brought to the league by Ray Rice’s assault on his wife and Peterson’s treatment of his son.