NFL star Adrian Peterson's case sparks spanking debate

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A Houston children advocacy group is speaking out after NFL star Adrian Peterson was arrested and charged for injuring his four-year-old son.

"All of a sudden, America is saying, 'Whoa. What's going on,'" said Bobby Parnell with Justice for Children. "It happens every day, except that the normal average person hardly ever sees that in a high profile case."

Parnell said he's not opposed to parents choosing to spank their children, but says from the photos published of Peterson's son, the switching may have crossed the line.

"When you look at child abuse, age becomes a factor," said Parnell. "These kinds of marks on a 16-year-old would not matter very much, but being four years old, then it changes the perspective altogether."

Peterson turned himself in to Montgomery County authorities early Saturday morning. A grand jury indicted him on the charges Friday. According to prosecutors, the grand jury found enough evidence to charge Peterson.

In Texas, it's legal for a parent or legal guardian to spank a child within reason. Eyewitness News legal analyst Joel Androphy said there is a line that can't be crossed.

"If you do anything that draws blood, or you do anything that breaks the skin, you've exceeded the boundaries of proper discipline," said Androphy.

The NFL is now considering how to discipline Peterson. Androphy said that's what Peterson should really be worried about. The star playing makes millions of dollars from the league not including endorsements.

"Because of the Ray Rice matter that's currently pending, it's going to be very difficult for Adrian Peterson to avoid discipline even if he's acquitted of the charge," said Androphy.

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