Did He Go Too Far? Firestorm Over NFL's Adrian Peterson Child Abuse Charge

It's another controversy for the NFL, as a heated national debate grows over Adrian Peterson punishing his four-year-old child with a switch. INSIDE EDITION has the latest.

There were stunning moments on live TV as the debate rages over the latest bombshell scandal shaking the NFL.

On Good Morning America, Robin Roberts asked the co-hosts, "Let's show hands, who was spanked?" All four of the co-hosts raised their hands.

On the Today show, Tamron Hall said, "That's a weapon that you're using on a four-year-old child!"

Shocking photos released by Houston police show the injuries sustained by the son of running back superstar Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings.

Peterson says he was simply giving the youngster a "whooping" like he received as punishment when he was a child. But did he go too far?

Peterson says in a just-released statement: "I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser."

A leaked photo shows Peterson demonstrating how he cut a thin tree branch to make a switch at his mansion outside Houston.  

Former basketball great Charles Barkley is coming to Peterson's defense. Barkley said in a TV interview, "I'm from the South. We do that all the time. Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances."

But ESPN's Cris Carter is appalled. Carter said on air, "It's the 21st century. My mom was wrong. She did the best she could, but she was wrong about some of that stuff she taught me. And I promised my kids I won't teach that message to them. Take him off the daggone field! Because, you know what? As a man, that's the only thing we really respect."

Commentator Boomer Esiason says there's no excuse for Peterson. Esiason said on air, "That guy should never be on the field again. And I don't want to hear about how he grew up, what he learned. This was a whipping of a four-year-old boy for God's sake!"

INSIDE EDITION spoke to psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere, who said, "It is not a way to raise your children, and certainly we're talking about a four-year-old child. To open up welts and cuts is unconscionable."

See More of Gardere's Interview with INSIDE EDITION

After the whooping, Peterson texted the boy's mother: "He got about five more pops than normal.  He didn't drop one tear!...He's as tough as nails!"

The mother texted back: "That's just mean. He's trying to be strong for you. He's afraid of you."

The Adrian Peterson controversy is another headache at NFL headquarters in New York, which is already under seige over the Ray Rice case.

Rice is appealing his indefinite suspension from football, and is now threatening to sue the NFL.