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Court documents refute paternity claims against Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson is in the tabloid crosshairs following the death of his son. (USATSI)

For more news and notes from Jason La Canfora, tune into The NFL Today Sunday at noon ET on CBS.


The mother of one of Adrian Peterson's children, who claimed recently she was owed more than $50,000 in unpaid child support and other bills, was in fact owed no back support, according to court documents. Furthermore, the Vikings star filed suit against her in March alleging she had violated their custody agreement. Peterson sought, and gained, additional visitation rights to the child, according to a modified custody agreement filed with the court in June.

Peterson is dealing with the most tumultuous and trying time of his career, after a son he had only recently learned was his was beaten to death in South Dakota. Following that revelation, tabloid and gossip publications and websites have reported on his other children and delved into his private life, often in a careless manner. Peterson, naturally, has been shaken by the events, according to some close to him, and they believe his reputation is being unduly tarnished (a crass comment from a CNN personality referring to Peterson as being MIA for his kids, was particularly hurtful, and, in fact, complete opposite the role he has taken with them).

And, most disturbing, some of what has been published simply is not true. Erica Syion, the mother to a 4-year-old child with Peterson, claimed to TMZ.com that the All-Pro running back had reneged on childcare payments and filed court documents in April alleging as much.

However, according to papers filed in Peterson's suit from March, there is documentation that he never had missed a payment, and that he was paying for private school tuition and other requests that he was not ordered to under their custody agreement from 2009. According to the court documents, Peterson actually had been prevented from having even more of a role in the child's life. Those documents allege repeated violations by Syion, including demanding $3,000 additional to allow Peterson to spend time with the child on a weekend in which he was legally entitled to do so. Peterson had already agreed to pay for her flight and accommodations near his home in Houston during that visit, though that also went above his legal obligations.

In another instance, Peterson claims Syion flew to his home in Houston and then flew back without him actually getting any visitation time with the child. And, in the motion, he claims she also violated the terms of their agreement by moving and changing phone numbers without properly notifying him and the court.

Also in the court order, Peterson asks for additional summer custody of the child. Peterson, in fact, was granted joint custody of the child in June (that court order was signed Sept. 6), and, according to court documents, he was granted expended summer and holiday visitation.

All of this was resolved only months before Peterson was notified of a son who was residing in South Dakota. Peterson, upon learning of that, had made plans to fly the 2-year-old to Minnesota to begin getting to know him, but never got that chance. He met the toddler while he was on life support, tragically, before the child passed away last weekend. Peterson traveled to South Dakota for the funeral last week, making the timing of the baseless attacks on his willingness to care for his children all the more troubling.

The business of digging into the private affairs and personal matters of someone in a time of personal loss is sad and sordid enough, but giving an open platform to others to make allegations that run totally counter to the court record is even more disturbing.

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