Adrian Peterson and the NFL's Struggle with Off-Field Violence

Adrian Peterson, NFL Struggle with Impact of Child-Abuse Charge
Adrian Peterson
Wesley Hitt/Getty

09/19/2014 AT 07:45 PM EDT

As a star running back for the Minnesota Vikings, Adrian Peterson has long been one of the sport's marquee players.

But the 2012 NFL MVP now finds himself facing a far harsher spotlight.

Having used a switch cut from a tree to hit his 4-year-old son last May in Texas – hard enough to leave cuts and bruises visible in police photos – after the boy pushed a sibling away from a video game, Peterson was charged Sept. 11 with injuring a child, a felony that can carry up to two years in jail.

"I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser," Peterson, 29, said the following Monday in a statement.

"I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended."

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