The mother of Adrian Peterson came to his defense Wednesday in her first public comments since the running back's indictment for child abuse, saying he has six kids and "wants to be a good father to them all."
"I don't care what anybody says," Bonita Jackson, 50, said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle from her home in the Houston suburb of Spring, where Peterson also has a house. "Most of us disciplined our kids a little more than we meant sometimes. But we were only trying to prepare them for the real world."
Jackson said that although she's still in contact with the mother of the boy Peterson is charged with abusing, neither she nor Peterson can have any contact with the boy.
"When you whip those you love, it's not about abuse, but love," Jackson said. "You want to make them understand that they did wrong."
The Minnesota Vikings placed Peterson on the NFL's exempt list early Wednesday morning, barring him from all team activities until his child abuse case is resolved. Peterson was indicted last week in Montgomery County, Texas, on a count of reckless or negligent injury to a child. The charges stem from a whipping incident that reportedly left bruises and wounds to much of his 4-year-old son.
The Vikings had reinstated Peterson on Monday after initially deactivating him, saying he could play until a resolution is reached in the case. They again changed course in the wake of sponsorship fallout and the Minnesota governor declaring in a lengthy statement that Peterson shouldn't be on the field while the case is pending.
"My son is not a perfect man by no means, but in the end I'm proud to be his mom," Jackson said in the interview with the Chronicle. "For the most part he is trying hard to be a good parent, he's working at it. People are judging him, but they don't know his heart. This was never his intent."
Friends and other family members of Peterson's, including two uncles and a stepmother, discussed the corporal punishment his father freely wielded during Peterson's upbringing in recent interviews with USA Today. They said his father took the approach, which Jackson reiterated with the Chronicle, that it was simply a matter of providing discipline to children.
"At the end of the day, we want to protect our children," Jackson said. "It happened and so now we as a family need to work things out and move forward."