Over the weekend as I didn’t have to work. I thought I’d catch up on my sporting intake somewhat. As it is the girlfriend had been chiming on as to how we don’t do enough together as a couple. To which I replied …..” we live together don’t we that’s a start isn’t it ?
I’ll tend to reread the USA Today and in particular the business section and then sport’s pages. And then that’ll be it. I’ll then take in one or two of the new magazine programs such ‘Meet The Press’(NBC) and ‘This Week ‘ (ABC) with George Stephanopoulos. My own personal favorite however is CNN’s ‘GPS’ with Fareed Zakaria . Basically programs such as these just keep me abreast of things to an extent. However much of what I do glean information wise for the large part does tend to come more from the internet and the scouring of the various online editions of some major international newspapers.
This past Sunday however whilst tuned into ESPN to watch ‘ The Sports Reporters’ hosted by John Saunders. I also continued to watch afterwards ‘Outside The Lines’ (OTL) , the network’s Sunday morning news magazine program. The entire program dealt with male professional athletes fathering children out of wedlock. Not that’s anything new to begin. But what got me not so much visually dumbfounded was the fact that the journalists were carrying on as if this was anything new. I don’t know if they’d been hiding under a rock but it’s something that’s become common place within sports for an eternity. Much like sex ,drugs and music goes hand in hand in the entertainment field. In the world of high profiled sports the two go hand in hand there also.
One of the athletes that the segment dealt with in particular as a subject matter , was that of former Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos’ running back Travis Henry. The program also mentioned New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady , the Orlando Magic’s center Dwight Howard and the Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback Matt Leinart. It’d be remiss to think that these three individuals ought to be seen as the poster children for this sort of social behavior ? Were it not for the fact you can this all happening across all four of the major professional sports to begin with. One can’t surmise and quantify to what extent this goes on with amongst the college ranks. But it’s safe to say that it happens but it isn’t always brought into the public domain too much.
Politically correct or not our views on this matter over the years has diminished somewhat. From being overly conservative to where we to an extent accept it as being part of the norm. However the tone that is set and the behavior or lack thereof shown by the individuals in accepting the responsibility of fathering a child and then being a responsible parent does give great cause for concern. And this was if anything a part of the mission that the story set out to investigate. When approached to give an on air interview or statement . The spoke’s people for Howard , Leinart and Brady declined to give an interview much less a statement. It was left to Henry to speak openly of his travails and woes on this topic.
In the case of Henry having fathered nine children with nine different women. His plight as it now stands is extreme. And to add this story is the fact the former player now owes in excess of $176,000 in child support. Furthermore the player also faces Federal drug trafficking charges that when it’s all said and done only adds to his woes. And were that not enough a tenth woman now has proof that Henry also fathered her twin children who are just over two years old. Henry himself acknowledges the nine children that he says he knows he’s fathered. But he can’t be all that sure that there aren’t any others. What I found disgusting was the all too flippant attitude when asked why had he not considered using protection when he chose to be with these women ? His response was ‘ that they should’ve been the ones to make sure’. In effect that tells me all one would need to know concerning Henry and how he views many of these women. In some circles they may well be viewed as gold diggers who are seeking an opportunity to entrap the athlete and then use them as a meal ticket. But in large part more than anything else is the fact that we have consenting individuals who are merely using each other for sexual gratification without really thinking about the consequences and the aftermath of their actions.
And if you think that Travis Henry’s situation is acute. Then consider the situation with former Chicago Bulls’ player Jason Caffey ? Having fathered ten children with eight different women. He’s now staving off legal threat of being imprisoned for failure to pay child support. One of the women who’s the mother of his year old son is now owed in excess of $197,000 including interest and court fees. At this moment in time Caffey is still a free man. He has withered away much of what he’d earned over the course of his career either on gambling or speculative business ventures and investments that didn’t pan out. It seems inexplicable to think that many of these athletes feel that they’re invulnerable in situations such as this. But then again they’re enabled in many ways merely because of what they feel is there and openly available to them. From the amount of money that they can make and their behavior both in public and private. It’s as if being amoral is the only thing that they’d deem to be appropriate.
From a legal perspective it certainly doesn’t help when they’re treated by legal environment as if their acts aren’t at all irresponsible and has a consequence. All too often they’re let off without much of an edict by the presiding judge as to their actions. By merely making a court order placing a monetary value or penalty as the case may be upon someone who’s earnings millions of dollars isn’t in the end much of deterrent. But then again how else ought to view the legal profession to begin with ? All too often they fail to do the right thing even when the facts are there steering them right back there in the face.
The real victims here all too often aren’t the adults in question. It’s the children who become embroiled in this all. Especially where it comes to the situation where they’re being used as a piñata by one if not both parents to justify their actions one way or another. They’re the innocent ones in this all and but for the stupidity shown by the adults . Much of what has transpired wouldn’t have taken place to begin with had they thought about the consequence of their actions.
The show itself whilst trying to show all sides of the argument merely only scratched the surface of a situation that is still is rife not just within the sport’s world. But right across society as a whole and it doesn’t seek sensationalize the subject matter. But neither did it make an attempt to seek to answer as to why this all takes place. One could say that it may well have been the socially prevalent in seeking out a story that in some ways shows the underbelly of how far we as a society have fallen. Or perhaps the fact that these so called athletes that often at times we treat as gladiators or deities are really no different from us at all.