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Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson mugshot

The arrest of Adrian Peterson:

The NFL has a game penalty called "piling on". It's when the defensive team jumps on the guy with the ball after he's already down.

pile on

But the league may need to consider expansion of the phrase, because its players are "piling on" to the NFL's problems with continuous, high profile arrests.

The latest accused: Adrian Peterson, star running back of the Minnesota Vikings.

Adrian Peterson playing for the Vikings

What you're about to read about this case may shock you. Adrian Peterson is an educated man; he graduated from the University of Oklahoma. He's also far from poor and unemployed – because he has a six year, 86 million dollar contract, with an average annual salary of fourteen million dollars a year.

But on September 13, 2014, he turned himself in to authorities in Texas, after being indicted there for allegedly beating his four year old son, pictured here…

Adrian Peterson with his son

…with a "switch". In this case, Peterson's said to have grabbed a tree branch, stripped off the leaves…

stripped tree branch

…and used it to hit his kid, resulting in the injuries picture here.

Adrian Peterson's son with bruises from tree branch

Peterson was released after posting $15,000 bond. The Vikings quickly deactivated him for its home game the next day against New England.

The boy and his five year old brother were visiting their Dad in Texas in May when it happened. The alleged reason: punishment for pushing the other kid off a motorcycle video game!

Peterson later texted the boy's mother conceding what he did and saying he felt bad about it later. But he insisted he didn't go overboard (although he admitted accidentally hitting the boy's private parts) and insisted that his kids must "act right."

The boy, fearing further punishment, said nothing. He did tell his mom the Peterson has a "whooping room".

When the child returned home to Minnesota, his mom saw the injuries and took the boy to a doctor, who notified Texas authorities. Peterson testified before the grand jury that indicted him.

Peterson's witnessed trouble before. When Adrian was a teenager, his father was sentenced to ten years in prison for laundering drug money. And in October of 2013, his two year old son died after an alleged assault by the boy's mother's boyfriend. (Peterson had only learned he was the boy's father a few weeks before the child's death and had never met him.)

This latest embarrassment for the NFL comes about three weeks after league commissioner Roger Goodell announced stiffer penalties on matters relating to domestic violence.

But the case has its own version of an open field run. The day after his one day suspension, The Vikings reinstated Adrian only to draw tremendous criticism from fans, sponsors and the Governor of Minnesota. So in the early morning hours of Wednesday, September 17th, the Vikes called an audible and Peterson was again deactivated, placed on an exempt list until the court's decided his child abuse case.

In a statement later that day, the NFL Players Association said Peterson agreed to a voluntary leave with pay to resolve his personal and legal issues, adding that the union, league, team and Peterson worked to resolve the situation.

On November 4, 2014, Peterson plea bargained his way out of legal trouble. His felony child-abuse charges were reduced to a single charge of reckless assault, a misdemeanor. It carried a penalty of a $4000 fine and an order to perform eighty hours of community service.

Even though Peterson resolved his case in court, the incident dragged on with the NFL when Commissioner Roger Goodell told Adrian he was suspended for the rest of the season – without pay – for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

Goodell pointed to what he called the "aggravating circumstance," noting to the child's age and the significant physical difference between Adrian and his son.

The NFL Players Association blasted the decision calling it inconsistent and unfair and called for a neutral arbitrator to handle an appeal.

Peterson's 2014 salary was $11.75 million. He will keep the money accrued while on the exempt list. But the NFL's punishment has now amounted to a 14-game ban, with six unpaid weeks --equaling a fine of more than $4.1 million.

The Vikings would only say they respect the league's decision and had no further comment.

Peterson's suspension until spring, 2015 was upheld by an arbitrator and the star running back told ESPN that he was very disappointed with the NFL's disciplinary procedures. He planned a lawsuit and even said he would consider retiring from pro football, perhaps going into real estate fulltime in Texas and maybe trying to compete in the Olympics as a sprinter.

However, on April 16, 2015, Peterson was cleared to return to the NFL. But it remains to be seen where he'll be suiting up. His agent says he wants to play in a new town in 2015, but the Minnesota Vikings have no plans to trade him, adding they look forward to him rejoining the Vikings.

To be continued….

Famous Arrests