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Sports Culture Note

By admin Published: March 12, 2009

You'd think that young men could remember a simple message like "zip it, wrap it or snip it." Apparently not. From an ESPN release:

Sunday’s Outside the Lines (9 a.m. ET, ESPN; noon ESPNEWS) will examine athletes having children out of wedlock, and the unique circumstances and temptations that contribute to the trend. Among the athletes Steve Delsohn reports on are former NFL running back Travis Henry, who has 11 children with 10 different women and is currently in jail because he owes back child support (payments stand at $17,000 a month), and former NBA player Jason Caffey, who has fathered 10 children with eight women, and despite earning more than $28 million during his NBA career, was issued an arrest warrant earlier this year because he owes more than $200,000 in child support. While there are no statistics regarding athletes' proclivity to father children without being married, government numbers show 40% of the children in America are born out of wedlock.OTL requested interviews with more than 20 athletes who have at least one child outside of marriage, including Tom Brady, Matt Leinart and Oscar De La Hoya. Except for Henry, all others either declined, or did not respond to the request.

Sadly, it's an old story. Here's a Sports Illustrated excerpt from 1998:

Nearly one-third of all children in this country are born to unwed mothers. But this week, Sports Illustrated reports that among professional athletes out-of-wedlock births are epidemic. And of athletes in the major sports leagues, those in the NBA appear to have the greatest number of cases. According to SI, one of the NBA's top agents says he spends more time dealing with paternity claims than he does negotiating contracts. The agent tells the magazine that there might be more kids out of wedlock than there are players in the NBA. According to Sports Illustrated, Larry Johnson of the Knicks is supporting five children by four women, including two he has with his wife, and Shawn Kemp of the Cavaliers, who is not married, has fathered seven children. ...

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