My Lifestyle Courageous
So LeBron's having a baby, and it means so much to me. It also seems to be quite important to the media, who love nothing more than plastering the sky with the fatherhood of James, Melo, and Arenas. . . without any consternation at the parents' not being hitched.
Don't get me wrong, I could care less if they want to wed their partners, or even if they stay steadily involved with them on the romance tip. What interests me is how little the rest of America, which regularly flays the NBA on account of its dwindled morals, cares. Or rather, what an appetite there seems to be for their tales of dad-dom despite this potential middle U.S.A. stumbling block.
Granted, all three situations are different. Melo and LaLa are now engaged and lovin' it, Gilbert and his ex are as unpredictable and intense, and Bron's relationship is hidden from the world and possibly flawed. You can decide what to make of the correlation between these players' parenting situations and their public personas. In any case, this trio of All-Stars went and had kid(s) without tying the knot and at least in two cases, with the status of the domestic partnership unclear. Not the end of the world, but does it make for sound self-promotion?
Athletes, especially NBA'ers, sowing babies with abandon is one of sport's eternal punchlines. You'd think, then, that the league, and these players' agents, would have a vested PR interest (note: that does not mean "LaLa's corset") in not making their kids a very public part of their image. Unless, of course, their willingness to be fathers to their children is notable exactly because it distinguishes themselves from the Larry Johnson's and Shawn Kemp's of the scuzzy past. Eff a paternity suit and child support scandal; these are upright dudes with their hearts in the right place, and value being parents. They seem to genuinely feel this way, and it certainly help them for us to perceive them as such.
At the same time, they are being judged differently. It's almost like, because of their occupation and skin color, there's less expected of them in this department. I'm not saying that single-parent homes are bad, or illicit in the eyes of God, but for a lot of "save the NBA" folks, they are. So these stars' high-profile daddying may be a symptom of practical, enlightened family values, I also suspect there's a tinge of racism to it. If America craves a sentimentalized nuclear family, should we hold LeBron James to the same standard?. Otherwise, it should admit it's branding him as an social outlaw, or at least a well-meaning outlier.