"It's not something that a little whipping can't take care of."
Those are words from Larry Peterson – one of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's brothers – who recalled a childhood incident in which their father, Nelson Peterson, whipped Adrian with a belt in front of about 20 classmates after he finished middle school football practice in their hometown of Palestine, Texas. Adrian Peterson had apparently been disruptive in class that day.
USA TODAY Sports' Josh Peters tells the story of what it was like for the star Vikings running back growing up in Texas. Peterson's father, who served time in prison after pleading guilty in 1999 to laundering money from the sale of cocaine, believed in the use of corporal punishment.
"We still talk about it to this day," said David Cummings, a childhood friend who recalled the incident in front of the middle school. "My dad was tough, but his dad was real tough."
FOX9 provided seven facts about corporal punishment, which is still used to discipline children in the U.S.
"In Peterson's case, Texas law considers punishment abusive if it causes injury. A red mark that fades in an hour most likely would not be judged as abusive, but a blow that results in a bruise, welt, swelling, or one that requires medical attention could cross the threshold."
Peterson, who was benched for the Vikings' 30-7 home loss to the Patriots on Sunday after he was tagged with child abuse charges for causing injury to his 4-year-old son for allegedly hitting him with a thin tree branch – also known as a switch – was reinstated by the team on Monday. Team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf made the decision to let the legal process run its course before deciding the best course of action.
Late Monday, another child abuse report against Peterson was unveiled – this time for a different 4-year-old son. Peterson's attorney Rusty Hardin, said the allegation is "simply not true," according to ESPN's Kevin Seifert.
Peterson released a statement Monday, saying he has sought counseling and has learned that there are more appropriate ways to discipline his child, rather than corporal punishment – which Peterson's former middle school football coach Booker Bowie called "tough love."
According to ABC News, parents in every state can legally hit their child as long as the "force is reasonable." But Dr. Alan Kazdin, a psychologist at Yale University, told ABC that spanking children isn't an effective form of punishment. Instead, Kazdin says, "It increases aggression in children, has emotional consequences."
Spanking has become less popular over time. FiveThirtyEight.com broke down a study conducted by the University of Chicago's General Social Study and found that race, region and religion play a large role in whether or not Americans believe in spanking.