JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mark Duper was released from jail Thursday, charged after police say he beat his 17-year-old son during a series of fights at their Jacksonville home.
Duper, who starred for the Dolphins from 1982 to 1992, spent a night in jail after his arrest Wednesday on one count of felony child abuse. He was released Thursday afternoon after posting a $5,000 bail, police in Jacksonville said.
Authorities say Duper attacked his son, Marcus, three times and knocked him out twice.
Messages left on Duper’s cellphone by The Associated Press were not returned Thursday. He told The Miami Herald that the fight was “a family matter.”
“This is not an open book. I have to deal with this within my family,” he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
Duper caught 511 passes for 8,869 yards and 59 touchdowns in his 11-year career with the Dolphins. Duper, who legally changed his name to Mark Super Duper, was named to three Pro Bowls and was a two-time All-Pro selection. He is a member of the Dolphins Honor Roll.
Former Dolphins defensive end Hugh Green told The Associated Press by telephone that he witnessed the brawls. He said Marcus Duper started the fights, thinking he could “beat his father.” Green and his 18-year-old son had stopped to visit Duper and his son after attending a charity golf outing in Miami earlier in the week.
“I saw Mark defending himself after a young son was defiant,” Green said.
Green said Duper’s wife, the mother of Marcus, died several years ago.
According to Jacksonville police records, the first fight allegedly began when Duper learned his son had sent a threatening text to the teen’s former girlfriend. The younger Duper denied he had done anything wrong. Police said that started an argument between the two that led to fisticuffs.
The police report said Duper “punched his son in the face one time because he wouldn’t listen to him about picking up his hat.” The report said Duper then “took his son to the ground, grabbed him, then picked him up several times and slammed him to the ground, causing him to lose consciousness for a short period of time.”
Duper then ordered his son out of the house, according to authorities. The son left but returned to get a jacket, the report said, which resulted in a second fight.
Green stepped in to break up the fight and, the report says, discovered that Marcus Duper “lost consciousness once again for a short period of time.”
Green said he then escorted Marcus Duper out of the house. The teen then “pushed his bike into his father’s vehicle” according to the police report.
The elder Duper saw him and went outside to confront his son a third time. Police say Duper “climbed on top of his son, grabbed his son by the neck and began choking his son.”
Green again intervened and the younger Duper went to a friend’s residence.
No date has been set for Duper’s next court appearance.