Adrian Peterson’s mother Bonita Jackson defended the Minnesota Vikings running back who was suspected after he allegedly beat his 4-year-old son with a switch.
Jackson, 50, said she and Peterson’s father Nelson Peterson were “big disciplinarians” who used their hand, belts and switches to spank their six kids. She said harsh punishment gets children ready for the “real world.”
"I don’t care what anybody says, most of us disciplined our kids a little more than we meant sometimes," Jackson told the Houston Chronicle. "But we were only trying to prepare them for the real world.”
“When you whip those you love, it’s not about abuse, it’s about love,” she continued. “You want to make them understand that they did wrong.”
She said she never spanked her kids to the point of injury and stressed that her son is now getting counseling to learn alternative ways to discipline his kids.
In Texas corporal punishment and non-deadly force against children by a parent or guardian are legal, according to The Chronicle. Punishment is deemed abusive when it causes injury and the use of an instrument “is cause for concern,” according to state guidelines. Because Peterson left a mark, he faces up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Peterson has six children from different mothers. In 2013, his 2-year-old son Tyrese Ruffin died from severe head injuries after his mother's boyfriend allegedly beat him.
Jackson said her son "is trying hard to be a good parent. He's working at it. People are judging him for this one incident, but they don’t know his heart. It was never his intent to hurt his son."
"It’s been a heartbreaking experience," she said. "Words can’t explain it. I just stay prayerful and God will get the glory."
Nike stores pulled Peterson’s jerseys on Tuesday. Target also pulled his jersey from shelves on Wednesday.
Image credit: Houston Police Department, Mayra Beltran/Houston Chronicle