Whippings were a part of Adrian Peterson's upbringing

Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com
CBS Sports




On Sunday, Charles Barkley, speaking about Adrian Peterson's arrest for beating his four-year-old with a switch and leaving welts and bruises, said this: "I'm from the South. Whipping -- we do that all the time. Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances." You can watch the full video below. 

In a story published Monday, USAToday.com's Josh Peter writes that Peterson and childhood friend David Cummings still talk about one whipping in particular Peterson, then in middle school, received from his father.

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Nelson Peterson received a call from school officials after Adrian had been disruptive in class. The father waited for the two boys near the school parking lot.

"His dad asked what happened, and Adrian told him," Cummings said. The elder Peterson then removed his belt and whipped Adrian in front of more than 20 students, according to Cummings.

"We still talk about it to this day," Cummings said. "My dad was tough, but his dad was real tough."

"When Adrian showed out or was bad, he got a whupping," his uncle, Greg Peterson told Peter.

The Vikings announced Monday that Peterson would return to practice and is expected to play Sunday. Peterson also released a statement Monday.

"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," Peterson said. "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 re-evaluate 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."

Corporal punishment is legal in Texas, and is still used at some schools.

"If a kid is chewing gum in class, we don't necessarily give the students swats for that," Jason Marshall, superintendent of schools in Palestine (Texas), told Peter. "If a student has several disciplinary situations that just continue to mount, then corporal punishment is an option."

But there are limits. Peterson was arrested for "reckless or negligent injury to a child," and depending on the severity of the punishment could result in a felony conviction.

"Corporal punishment has been held to be reasonable under some circumstances and not reasonable on others," Scott McCown, a clinical professor at the University of Texas School of Law and the director of the Children's Rights Clinic, told Peter. "Generally speaking, law enforcement and district attorney's take the position that if there's injury that requires seeking medical attention, it is not reasonable discipline."

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