Whipping Charge Against NFL’s Peterson Prompts Corporal Punishment Debate

  • The explosive legal case against Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson was laid out Saturday in Texas, making it clear that the running back will have to convince a jury that whipping his son was “reasonable discipline,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The outline of the case left it unclear when or whether Peterson would play again, and it ignited an intense national debate among fans and parents about the appropriateness and limits of corporal punishment.

Phil Grant, a Montgomery County, Tx., prosecutor, said a grand jury decided Peterson's treatment of his son was “not reasonable.'' He added, “Obviously, parents are entitled to discipline their children as they see fit, except for when that discipline exceeds what the community would say is reasonable…the mental state that's reflected in the indictment is that he did so with criminal negligence, or recklessly.” Peterson's cooperation with police, and his lawyer's statement that the running back was treating his child the same way Peterson himself was disciplined at a young age, seemed to suggest an emerging legal defense. He reportedly whipped his four-year-old son with a “switch,” a tree branch stripped of its leaves.

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