Steve Eudey, a former coach and close friend of Adrian Peterson, told CNN on Thursday that the NFL player was not a child abuser, but “occasionally discipline gets away from you.”
“I’m not very happy… I think he’s getting a little injustice here,” Eudey said of Peterson’s suspension for allegedly beating a 4-year-old boy with a tree branch.
“Not trying to overshadow the injuries to the child or the seriousness of child abuse, I’m just here to tell the American public, Adrian Peterson is not a child abuser,” the former coach explained. “He has a history of being kind and gentle to children, being friendly towards everybody.”
CNN host Michaela Pereira pointed out that Eudey’s recollection did not square with the photos of Peterson’s son that showed broken and bruised skin.
“He was raised in a very strict environment — very loving, caring environment, but one where you were taught right from wrong, and Adrian knows right from wrong,” Eudey insisted. “He understands the injuries to the child was not his intent, and that was wrong, and he has apologized for that.”
“I’ve talked to 50-plus people — fathers in the last week, and they all agree that occasionally discipline gets away from you, and you don’t mean — your intention is not harm or abuse,” he continued. “You are disciplining your child the way that you know how, and you’re disciplining that child out of love. Sometimes stuff like that occurs. I’ve spoken with both of my sons in the last week, and they’ve both reminded me of times that maybe I went a little overboard.”
Eudey said that he just couldn’t understand why Peterson would be grouped in with other alleged domestic abusers and criminals in the NFL.
“Adrian was disciplining his child, and in my opinion, that is a difference than physically whipping a woman or a child or a man or an elderly person. Going overboard on discipline is not the same thing as hitting somebody with your fist and knocking them down,” Eudey remarked. “I’m a simple American, but that’s pretty plain.”
“The worst thing you can do is take away his ability to play,” he concluded. “So to take that away from him, is tragic, it’s going to be tough.”
Watch the video below from CNN’s New Day, broadcast Sept. 18, 2014.