Charles Barkley defended Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and shared sentiments on former Ravens running back Ray Rice’s case during an interview with Jim Rome on The NFL Today Show Sunday.
Barkley expressed optimism on Rice’s case, hoping that his mistake would help raise awareness on domestic violence. Rome then asked the former NBA player for his thoughts on Peterson’s indictment for child abuse.
Barkley said that he understands the outrage towards the football player but added that if child abuse charges were formalized against Peterson, “every black parent in the South is going to be in jail.”
Rome vehemently disagreed with Barkley’s thoughts, saying, “It doesn’t matter where you’re from: Right is right and wrong is wrong.”
“I don’t believe that because, listen, we spank kids in the South,” Barkley replied. “I think the question about did Adrian Peterson go overboard…. Every black parent in my neighborhood in the South would be in trouble or in jail under those circumstances.”
Rome maintained that there is a big difference between child discipline and child abuse, to which Barkley said this was acceptable, saying that he went through pretty much the same thing when he was a child.
“I’ve had many welts on my legs. I’ve gotten beat with switches,” Barkley said. “But as far as being from the South, we all spanked our kids.”
He also added that he and his brothers were constantly spanked growing up.
He then ended the conversation by saying that people need to really be careful in teaching other parents how to discipline their children.
Peterson is alleged to have beat his son with a tree branch last May in Texas, after the boy pushed one of his children. He was recently indicted by a grand jury for reckless or negligent injury to a child, concluding that the use of a switch to repeatedly hit his son was a form of unreasonable discipline.
The incident left his four-year-old son with several bruises and open wounds, which were documented in photographs.
If found guilty, Peterson could face $10,000 in fines and two years in prison.
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