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Charles Barkley: 'Whipping' kids is different from child abuse

The former Sixer said his daughter was "spanked pretty good."

The ever-outspoken Charles Barkley is again making news for controversial comments, this time defending parents physically disciplining kids.

This morning, on Dan Patrick's syndicated radio show, Barkley, the NBA legend turned TNT analyst, went even further than he did yesterday on CBS Sports' NFL Today.

On Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings star arrested Saturday on child-abuse charges: "This is a way overblown story. We can debate whether Adrian Peterson went overboard. We can debate that. ... This sounds like some lightweight prosecutor just trying to get some free pub."

Barkley pointed out that the first grand jury failed to indict Peterson.

On disciplining his own daughter, who is now 25: "I hope I never crossed the line. ... She was spanked pretty good a few times, and she probably deserved it."

On "hypocrites" in the media and the public: "It just bothers me how everyone who gets in the media and these idiots in the public, they're like, they never made a mistake and this drives me crazy. ... That's one of the reasons I save my money, so I can tell all these people to shut the hell up and kiss my ass all the time."

On being punished himself: "I'm pretty sure my grandmother, who was the greatest woman who ever lived, may have crossed the line at times, but you know what? I feel pretty good about the person I am today."

Sunday morning, Barkley told Jim Rome on CBS Sports' The NFL Today, "I'm from the South. Whipping -- we do that all the time. Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances."

To be clear, Barkley repeatedly tried to distinguish between spanking and even using a branch or switch and "beating" or child abuse.

Responding to strong remarks by quarterback-turned-broadcaster Boomer Esiason, Barkley said, "I understand Boomer's rage and anger, ... but he's a white guy and I'm a black guy,"  then emphasized how growing up in the South is different.

When Rome replied, "It doesn't matter where you're from: Right is right and wrong is wrong," Barkley said, "I don't believe that because, listen, we spank kids in the South. ... Listen, Jim, we all grow up in different environments."

Rome: "Let's make a distinction between 'child rearing' and 'child abuse.' That was child abuse. There's no fine line here."

Barkley: "I think there's a fine line. Jim, I've had many welts on my legs."

"Like that young man?" Rome asked, referring to Peterson's son. (There were "cuts and bruises to the child's back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child's hands," according to a CBS Houston report.)

Barkley: "Oh yeah, I've gotten beat with switches -- and I don't even like the term. When the media talks about it, 'beating a child' ...

Rome: "But that's what that was, Charles. ... If I see open wounds or bruises throughout a body, that is a beating."

Barkley: "Sure. I think those pictures are disturbing. And I think Adrian said he went overboard. ... I think we have to really be careful trying to teach other parents how to discipline their kids. That's a very fine line."

On Patrick's show, Barkley said he'd heard from plenty of white people who said, "Our parents spanked the hell out of us, too."

Last year, a Harris poll found an overwhelming percentage of Americans (81 percent) believed spanking was sometimes appropriate, with the greatest support in the South (86 percent).

Eighty-six percent of adult respondents said they were spanked as a child, and, of those, 21 percent said the punishment was too violent, while 79 percent said it wasn't.

About half of Americans said there were occasions they should have been spanked but weren't.

Social media isn't exactly supportive.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or Follow @petemucha on Twitter.