Bonita Jackson, the mother of embattled Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, gave an emotional defense of her child Wednesday amid allegations that he injured his 4-year-old son while beating him with a tree branch. The Vikings announced Wednesday that Peterson would be placed on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list, barring him from all team activities until his legal troubles are resolved.
“I don’t care what anybody says, most of us disciplined our kids a little more than we meant to 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. You want to make them understand that they did wrong.”
Both Jackson and Peterson’s father, Nelson Peterson, were “big disciplinarians” with their six children, she added. Peterson’s mother stressed that his actions toward his son were never intended to cause injury. “He is trying 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,” she said.
Peterson surrendered Saturday to authorities in Montgomery County, Texas after a grand jury indicted him on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child. If convicted of the crime, the 29-year-old could face up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
In his first public comments related to the child abuse allegations, Peterson said Monday that he disciplined his son in the same way that he was disciplined as a child. He added that he met with a psychologist and sought counseling to learn alternative methods of disciplining his children.
“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 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,” he said.
The child abuse allegations have already had a noticeable effect on Peterson’s off-the-field business ventures. Nike announced Thursday that it would suspend its endorsement deal with the troubled star, while Castrol said it would sever ties with him altogether.