NFL star Adrian Peterson was the target of a criminal sexual assault investigation, but authorities ultimately cleared him ... TMZ Sports has learned.
Law enforcement sources tell us ... the alleged incident occurred in 2011 at a party in Eden Prairie, a suburb of Minneapolis. We're told ... the woman complained to authorities and Adrian denied anything occurred without the woman's consent.
A criminal investigation was opened, and numerous witnesses were interviewed. Peterson's lawyer, Peter Wold, tells TMZ ... "all witnesses who we interviewed concurred with Adrian's story." Further, Wold tells us ... authorities tested 3 DNA samples ... 2 excluded Peterson and one was inconclusive.
Wold also says Peterson submitted to a polygraph test and the results showed he was truthful and the authorities closed the case and no charges were ever filed.
The attorney calls the allegation "a bogus story that has nothing to do with reality."
Peterson currently faces criminal child abuse charges.
Adrian Peterson in '12
I Hated How My Parents Disciplined Me
... But It Worked
9/23/2014 6:55 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Adrian Peterson says he HATED the way his parents physically disciplined him while he was growing up -- but believed it was effective ... and that's why he treats his kids the same way.
AP opened up about his childhood -- and his disdain for the way he was punished -- during a 2012 interview with Graham Bensinger ... saying:
"I feel like I just have to teach [my kids] the ropes along the way and stay on them and really be disciplined ... not to the point where they’re hating you when they’re older, like my dad did and my mom did growing up," Peterson said.
The NFL star -- who's now facing child abuse charges after beating his 4-year-old son with a tree branch -- went on to explain why even though he "hated" his parents at times, he believes their tough love instilled important values that he wants to pass on to his own children.
In the end, Peterson says he's an A+ father who's raising his kids the right way.
'Supernanny' Jo Frost
I CAN HELP ADRIAN PETERSON
... Contacts NFL Execs
9/19/2014 7:47 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Can Supernanny save Adrian Peterson???
She thinks so ... and now TMZ Sports has learned Jo Frost has reached out the to NFL offering to help the embattled running back.
The reality star and parenting expert -- who recently worked with Peterson on an EpiPen promotional campaign -- says she was "very saddened" when she saw how AP disciplined his child ... and felt compelled to help.
Frost says she strongly believes she can teach Peterson how to be an effective parent WITHOUT using violence -- and has contacted both the NFL and Peterson to offer her expertise.
"He needs parental coaching, "Frost says ... "And I hope he picks up the phone."
I'm Pulling for Ray Rice
9/17/2014 10:42 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
He lashed out at Adrian Peterson ... but when it comes to Ray Rice, Cris Carter tells TMZ Sports he's rooting for the NFL star to get his life back together.
Carter was on his way to the White House when he told us he stands by his emotional statements on Peterson -- saying he still strongly believes the Vikings should keep him off the field.
But when we asked about Rice, the NFL Hall of Famer told us he hopes the former Ravens running back can redeem himself ... and strongly believes he'll be able to get his life back together.
As for why Carter is at the White House -- he's set to speak on a panel about his battle with substance abuse and recovery.
No Trace of Radisson
At Today's Press Conference
9/17/2014 9:01 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Didn't take long for the Minnesota Vikings to scrub all signs of the Radisson after the hotel suspended its relationship with the NFL team ... because the logo is noticeably absent on the team banner at today's news conference.
The team is setting up to address the media -- and swapped out the backdrop, which used to prominently display the Radisson logo to one that just has the Vikings emblem on it.
The Radisson has suspended its relationship with the team after its logo appeared behind team reps earlier in the week when they announced they would be REINSTATING Peterson.
After intense public backlash, the team eventually reversed course ... but the damage was already done.
Team owner Zygi Wilf just said, "We made a mistake."
"Adrian will be away from the team," Wilf said.
NIKE SUSPENDS CONTRACT
'We Don't Condone Domestic Violence'
9/17/2014 8:54 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
It was only a matter of time ... but Nike has announced it has suspended its endorsement contract with Adrian Peterson.
The Swoosh just issued a statement saying, "Nike in no way condones child abuse or domestic violence of any kind and has shared our concerns with the NFL."
"We have suspended our contract with Adrian Peterson."
The timing is interesting ... considering AP left his house in Minnesota Tuesday covered head-to-toe in Nike gear.
It's almost like when Nike saw AP repping the brand in public, it seemed to be the final straw.
It's a huge step for Nike considering Peterson was one of the brands BIGGEST stars. The fact Nike has suspended the contract and has not dropped him entirely gives them the ability to reactivate him when they feel the time is right.
Barred from the Minnesota Vikings
9/17/2014 3:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The Minnesota Vikings have reversed their decision on Adrian Peterson and decided to bar him from all team activities until his child abuse case is resolved.
Vikings owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf announced they were placing Peterson on the NFL's exempt/commissioner's permission list, saying in a statement, "After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian."
The team had deactivated Peterson for last week's game following the allegations against their star running back, but on Monday announced their plans to play him this coming Sunday.
Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, described the move as "the best possible outcome given the circumstances."
Hey Nike ...
We're Still Cool, Right?
9/16/2014 10:08 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Accused child abuser Adrian Peterson wants to remind you -- he's still one of the faces of Nike ... emerging from his home today decked out in Swoosh gear.
The embattled Vikings running back was leaving his pad in Minnesota Tuesday morning -- where he's expected to rejoin the team for practice this week ... and ya gotta think, he's clearly testing his relationship with his sponsor.
It was just yesterday that the Radisson hotel chain suspended its relationship with the Vikings following a news conference in which a team rep announced Peterson's reinstatement in front of a banner featuring the hotel's logo.
So now, with AP so proudly sporting the swoosh -- while legal proceedings continue in the child abuse case from May -- it'll be interesting to see if Nike stays with him or follows Radisson's lead.
Just a few days ago, Nike issued a statement saying it's "aware of the allegations" and will "closely monitor the situation."
Stay tuned ...
Another Child Abuse Investigation
9/15/2014 4:25 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
5:05 PM PT -- Sources close to the investigation tell TMZ the reason the case went nowhere is because Adrian did NOT strike the boy in the forehead -- but instead the child accidentally hit his head on a carseat while Adrian was punishing him.
We're also told the form of discipline was "not impermissible." Under Texas law parents are allowed to administer reasonable punishment.
Peterson's attorney tells us an adult witness backed him up, saying Adrian "did nothing inappropriate with his son."
Adrian Peterson is under investigation for a SECOND child abuse case involving one of his other children.
This new investigation involves an incident that allegedly went down in June 2013 ... and the probe was launched after the then 4-year-old boy went home to his mother with a scar on his forehead.
The station says Adrian sent the mother a text message saying the child hit his head on a carseat -- but when the mother questioned him further ... Peterson eventually admitted hitting the child.
The mother reported the incident to Child Protective Services, but no charges were ever filed against Peterson.
Earlier today ... Peterson issued a public apology for the other case -- for which he's been indicted -- saying he was sorry for hurting the child during a visit in May.
Peterson said he'd seen a psychologist who taught him there are other ways to discipline kids.
I'M SORRY I HURT MY CHILD
I Met with a Shrink
9/15/2014 11:41 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
I never wanted to be a distraction to the Vikings organization, the Minnesota community or to my teammates. I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son.
Adrian Peterson has just released the following statement ... asking everyone to "understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child."
Peterson also says he has met with a psychologist and is learning there are other ways to discipline a child other than with a "switch."
The statement reads:
"My attorney has asked me not to discuss the facts of my pending case. I hope you can respect that request and help me honor it. I very much want the public to hear from me but I understand that it is not appropriate to talk about the facts in detail at this time. Nevertheless, I want everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child.
I voluntarily appeared before the grand jury several weeks ago to answer any and all questions they had. Before my grand jury appearance, I was interviewed by two different police agencies without an attorney. In each of these interviews I have said the same thing, and that is that I never ever intended to harm my son. I will say the same thing once I have my day in court.
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 or thought would happen. I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.
I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward. But deep in my heart I have always believed I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets without the discipline instilled in me by my parents and other relatives. I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man. I love my son and I will continue to become a better parent and learn from any mistakes I ever make.
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. I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury. No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that’s what I tried to do that day.
I accept the fact that people feel very strongly about this issue and what they think about my conduct. Regardless of what others think, however, I love my son very much and I will continue to try to become a better father and person."
NFL Asks D.A.
Give Us Everything You Got
9/15/2014 10:43 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The NFL contacted Texas prosecutors Monday ... asking for all available information on the Adrian Peterson child abuse case ... TMZ Sports has learned.
An official from the Montgomery County D.A.'s Office tells us ... prosecutors only turned over what they have already made public. We're told the NFL is not entitled to the case file since it is not a law enforcement agency.
The D.A. official tells us the Minnesota Vikings organization has NOT made contact with prosecutors.
The NFL appears to have launched an investigation swiftly in the wake of severe criticism over the way it handled the Ray Rice investigation.
WILL PLAY THIS WEEK
... Vikings Announce
9/15/2014 8:57 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Adrian Peterson will RETURN to the Minnesota Vikings this week -- and will play against the New Orleans Saints Sunday ... the team has announced.
The Vikings deactivated Peterson in the wake of allegations he abused his 4-year-old son by beating him with a "switch." Peterson had been indicted for felony child abuse.
But now, the team says it will allow Peterson to come back to work while the "judicial process" moves forward.
Team owner Zygi Wilf issued a statement explaining his decision ... saying, "On Friday, we felt it was in the best interests of the organization to step back, evaluate the situation, and not rush to judgment given the seriousness of this matter. At that time, we made the decision that we felt was best for the Vikings and all parties involved."
"To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child. At this time, however, we believe this is a matter of due process and we should allow the legal system to proceed so we can come to the most effective conclusions and then determine the appropriate course of action."
"This is a difficult path to navigate, and our focus is on doing the right thing. Currently we believe we are at a juncture where the most appropriate next step is to allow the judicial process to move forward."
"We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support Adrian’s fulfillment of his legal responsibilities throughout this process."
'I'M ALL FOR DISCIPLINE'
But I've Never Used a 'Switch'
9/15/2014 5:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Not everyone in Texas believes in "switch" justice -- so says Texas congressman Michael McCaul who tells TMZ Sports he doesn't believe hitting kids with a branch like Adrian Peterson.
McCaul was out in D.C. this weekend -- and while he stressed that his priority was hunting down the terrorists from ISIS -- he also weighed in on the allegations Peterson is facing in his home state.
"I'm all for discipline," McCaul said ... "but it's gotta be the right discipline."
He added, "I've never taken a branch from a tree and hit my children."
As we previously reported, Peterson has been indicted for felony child abuse in TX -- and if convicted he could serve up to two years behind bars.