US football star narrowly escapes jail for spanking son

NFL running back Adrian Peterson has pleaded no contest to the misdemeanour charge of recklessly assaulting his four-year-old son.

The Minnesota Vikings star will avoid a jail sentence after reaching a plea agreement with a court in Texas.

Peterson, who used a wooden implement to discipline his son in the Texas town of Spring in May, was put on probation and fined $4,000 (£2,500).

The player has been on paid leave pending resolution of the case. He had been facing a possible two years in prison but the judge in Conroe, 40 miles (64 km) north of Houston, accepted the plea agreement.

Peterson will also do 80 hours of community service.

The footballer was said to have punished his son after the boy pushed another of his children off a motorbike video game.

The “whooping” – how Peterson allegedly referred to the incident in a police interview – resulted in cuts and bruises to the boy’s back, buttocks, legs and scrotum, local media reported.

Peterson’s defence attorney Rusty Hardin earlier described his client as a “loving father” who had “used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas”.

“It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury,” he said.

The  case sparked a national debate in America about spanking children and the growing illegality of certain kinds of “abusive” corporal punishments.

Credit: BBC