Everyone is talking about Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher who murdered his girlfriend this weekend before he killed himself. Then there’s NBC’s Bob Costas turning this into an anti-gun crusade (never mind that O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole was murdered with a knife.) Not many people are picking up on the aspect of Belcher’s girlfriend also being the mother of his child or, if they are, it is being treated as something normal and accetable that they had an out-of-wedlock child.
Well, why wouldn’t they when the Washington Post runs a Thanksgiving Day quasi-puff-piece on a HIGH SCHOOL football player in D.C. who is juggling football and fatherhood. This kid is 18 years old and has TWO children under the age of 2 with two different women — although the Post notes that he still dates one of the moms.
Here’s the line that got me —
Matthews started seeing a new girlfriend at Dunbar, Donica Dowery, which strained his relationship with Sheffield.
DUH! You think?
I am heartened by this part, though —
Dowery considered having an abortion.
“The doctors visit . . . I couldn’t do it,” said Dowery, who was 18 at the time. “When they showed me, like, the little picture of him, he already had, like, a little body, little arms.”
The article does get into various aspects of responsibility this young man is trying to take such as getting a job, caring for his children and focusing on the need to go to college. How sad is it that this young man’s high school actually operates a daycare center? Of course, then it comes out that he grew up in a home without a father, too. This poor kid is just perpetuating the cycle of what he knows.
According to the CDC and the U.S. Census, 40% of all births are to UNMARRIED women. We are nearing the tipping point on this (if we have not passed it already) where what was once a source of shame that could at least make someone think twice before giving in to their desires that could result in the creation a child is no longer a deterrent to them.
It used to be well-understood that if you are a man and you got a woman pregnant, then it was up to you to marry the mother of your child — preferably before the child is born — and care for your new family. Belcher was a professional football player, so he certainly could have afforded to do this. (And I’m not letting Tom Brady off the hook for the child he had with Bridgit Moynahan, either.) Two of the biggest pop culture influences on society are sports and entertainment — what the rich and famous from these fields do shape how millions of young people perceive things.
Until celebrities starting taking basic responsibility the way we used to expect everyone to do so, we will continue to see this spiral out of control and generations more of children will suffer the consequences.