There is an old African proverb that says, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” But judging by the antics of some pro athletes, raising their own kids is the last thing on their minds.
As often is the case, parent-child bonding is substituted by money. Geraldine Jensen, publisher of familiesonlinemagazine.com and author of How to Collect Child Support says,”in situations where the guy is making millions, a good attorney will help women navigate the system and get a good settlement for the child.”
In fact, it can be quite costly paying child support, especially if there are several different mothers. In reality, it is not uncommon for star players to have miscellaneous children with multiple baby mamas sprinkled across the country.
New York Jets cornerback, Antonio Cromartie, for instance, has fathered 10 kids with eight different women, in six states, including two with his current wife, Terricka Cason. He pays $3,500 a month in child support to each of his seven baby mamas, which amounts to $294,000 a year.
Others include NFL player Ray Lewis, who has six kids by four women; NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, who has fathered six children with four women; Calvin Murphy, 14 children from nine different women; and Evander Holyfield, who has nine children with six women, and so on and so on.
What is sad is that there are numerous cases of the “baby mama drama” contributing to superstar athletics bleeding money.
For example, former NFL wide-receiver Terrell Owens, who recently filed for bankruptcy, has talked candidly about his struggles to keep up with his mounting child support payments of $240,000 annually for each child. Owens, the father of four children by four different women, will reportedly appear on “Dr. Phil” to work out the issues with the mothers of his children.
Travis Henry, who now has 11 children with 10 women, had a child support bill of $17,000 a month in 2009. He said at the time that his fiscal responsibilities to his children made him broke. At one point he was even thrown in jail for falling $16K behind on support for one of his offspring in Florida.
Athletes also have to muddle through the drama and headache of execs going back to court to seek new “deals” to increase child support payments.
One of Cromartie’s baby mamas, for instance, has this month filed a court motion seeking an increase in the millionaire’s monthly child-support payments. Latoya “Michelle” Burley and Cromartie have two children together.
Child support expert Nicholas L. Bourdeau says when either parent tries to get child support recalculated because of a change of circumstance, there is always the potential, especially in high income cases, for things to get messy. “It’s not a simple issue,” he says.”Normally in those cases an attorney or courts get involved. The process can be long and complicated.”
It is all too easy while living the high life to forget that the money doesn’t last for forever. There is a long list of NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball players, who, because of a combination of questionable choices and poor investments, have squandered their money.
According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. For 78 percent of NFL players, it takes only two years. This month, for example, it was reported that former professional football player, Warren Sapp, filed for bankruptcy in Florida, claiming he owes $6.7 million in debts.
Indeed, a new Billy Corban documentary, scheduled to be shown at this month’s Tribeca Film Festival, explores the post-career lives of professional athletes. Broke reveals that most retired players are not prepared for the harsh economic realities after years of living in the fast lane.
So what happens with the maintenance when his “career” ends, and the cash dries up? Let’s not forget, these baby mamas and their kids have grown accustomed to a comfortable lifestyle. The answer is simple: another trip to court.
It is not just pro athletes: many men in Hollywood and the music industry, including the likes of Lil Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Mick Jagger, have several children scattered across the country and overseas. This cuts across all races and classes.
Deborrah Cooper, an African-American dating expert and columnist, says even if the father is earning big bucks, financial support on its own is not enough, “Children need time and attention. When a child gets older he or she don’t remember the money but the time parents spend with them or the lessons they taught them about life.”
She says in an ideal situation “it’s extremely important for a child to have a father or at the very least a father figure. It balances the male and female perspective. Girls form their first impression of men based on how their fathers treated them and boys need a positive role model to learn how men treat women.”
Cooper has just has published her latest relationship advice book, The 24 Types of Suckers to Avoid. Under one of the chapter heading she talks about “The Indiscriminate Baby Breeder.” These are men who have children all over the place that he rarely, if ever, sees.
“These are guys that have casual, unprotected sex with a slew of miscellaneous women,” says Cooper. It is because “he has no respect for his seed and family lineage” that he has several children born out of wedlock.
In fairness, in some cases, women do deliberately get pregnant to “trap” athletes. But wouldn’t life be much simpler if both parties just took the time to make sure they used protection in the heat of the moment?
Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti