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Adrian Peterson’s Mother Defends NFL Star, Says He’s ‘Trying Hard to be a Good Parent’

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs for a 5-yard gain as St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long, right, defends during the first quarter an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs for a 5-yard gain as St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long, right, defends during the first quarter an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

(Houston Chronicle) – Seated on a couch at her home overlooking a golf course in Spring, Bonita Jackson dabbed her eyes with a tissue as she discussed her distress over the highly charged debate that’s playing out over allegations that her son, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, injured his 4-year-old son by spanking him with a tree branch.

Peterson, 29, is far different from how he’s been portrayed in the media frenzy and in nightly discussions among sports figures and celebrities over the efficacy of corporal punishment, his mother said. She describes Peterson as a loving father who adores his children and who was only applying the same type of discipline that he had received as a child.

“I don’t care what anybody says, most of us disciplined our kids a little more than we meant sometimes,” said Jackson, 50. “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.”

Jackson said both she and Peterson’s father, Nelson Peterson, who lives in Dallas, were “big disciplinarians” when their children were growing up. She used her hand, switches and belts to occasionally spank all six of her children — though not to the point of injury.

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