Washington: The Minnesota Vikings reversed course Wednesday and suspended their star running back Adrian Peterson amid an outcry over charges he abused his son by beating him severely.
The team said it has placed him on what is called the Exempt/Commissioner`s Permission list. That requires Peterson to stay away from all team activities while his legal case pursues its course.
Last week Peterson was charged in Texas with reckless or negligent injury to a child after delivering blows so hard that his four-year-old son still bore the marks days later.
Peterson has denied the whipping he administered to his son with a tree branch was child abuse. He said in a statement he was subject to similar disciplinary measures as a child.
The Vikings held him out of Sunday`s game, but with a trial not expected until next year, they sparked controversy by reinstating him on Monday.
However early Wednesday, amid the growing outcry against one of the NFL`s best players, the team backtracked.
"In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team`s decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson," the team said in a statement.
The decision was made to put him on the Exempt/Commissioner`s Permission list, it said.
The Vikings said "we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian."
"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," the team said.
The move came after Minnesota governor Mark Dayton added his voice to calls for Peterson to be suspended.
Radisson hotels said Monday they were suspending their sponsorship of the Vikings as they monitor the case. Fans have also expressed anger over the team`s reinstating the player.
That same day team officials said Peterson would return to practice this week and was expected to play next Sunday.
"I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser," Peterson said earlier this week.
Peterson`s lawyer Rusty Hardin has refuted a report by KHOU-TV in Houston that Peterson is under investigation on allegations he injured another son in June last year.The charge against Peterson comes as the league grapples with the fallout from its handling of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was belatedly suspended indefinitely by commissioner Roger Goodell after video surfaced of Rice punching his then-fiancee in an elevator.
The NFL had originally suspended Rice for just two games over the February incident but in the face of public criticism has since scrambled to adopt a tougher stance on domestic violence issues.
Last Sunday, the Carolina Panthers did a U-turn and deactivated defensive end Greg Hardy, who was found guilty in July of assaulting his former girlfriend and threatening to kill her.
Hardy, who has appealed a judge`s `guilty` ruling and requested a full jury trial -- had played for the team the week before.
San Francisco defensive end Ray McDonald has played the first two games of the season for the 49ers even as he faces charges of assaulting his pregnant girlfriend.
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that calls to bench McDonald -- including from former 49ers quarterback Steve Young and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom -- won`t sway the team.
"Our response would be, we have two principles at play here," Harbaugh said. "And one is respect for due process. And we`re not going to flinch based on public speculation."