Double standards, redux

Via Erick Fernandez of the Huffington Post, we learn that the Charlotte Observer recently published a letter from one Patricia Borderick taking Cam Newton to task for having a child with his long-term girlfriend, but failing to marry her. This, according to the published letter, showed that Newton wasn’t “man enough” to “make a home” for the child. As a result, the happy occasion is “blighted.” Fernandez criticized the Observer for publishing the letter, particularly on the heels of the pathetic letter it published a few weeks ago from a Tennessee woman who was upset that Cam danced after a touchdown.

In response, Fernandez asked: “Could you imagine the Boston Globe publishing a letter to the editor ridiculing Tom Brady in February 2007 when his then-girlfriend, Bridget Moynahan, was pregnant with his child? Of course not, and that’s just another example of the double standard that black quarterbacks and so many other prominent black Americans have to deal with in the press.”

This episode prompted me to take a trip down memory lane. Because, as it happens, when Tom Brady’s ex-girlfriend, Bridget Moynahan had his child in 2007, something unprecedented happened.

Here’s me telling the tale, back then:

In a recent issue of Sports Illustrated, Rick Reilly wrote a paean to the God that is Tom Brady, dressed up as a regular column. The premise of the column was how Tom Brady could give dating tips based on his good looks, humility, sense of himself, etc, with Reilly offering examples of each attribute and then checking off Brady’s possession of said attribute. Among those appealing features that Reilly cited was Brady’s sense of “personal responsibility.” Pertaining to what issue, you might ask? Here’s Reilly:

See, Brady is Namath with a milk mustache. Mothers want him for supper and daughters for everything after. O.K., you might say, but how cool is it to get one woman pregnant (Moynahan) and be dating another (Bündchen)? Well, a) Brady says he didn’t know Moynahan was pregnant until after they’d broken up, and b) Brady is aching to be a full-time dad. He was there three weeks ago for the birth of John Edward Thomas Moynahan.

“I kind of cuddled him like a football,” Brady says, adding that it’s killing him that he can’t be in Los Angeles for every sneeze. “I’d love to be out there all the time, year-round, but it’s hard to make that a reality. I live here. But I’ll start lobbying for off days throughout the year.”

Personal responsibility. Check.

I honestly have no opinion about Brady’s relationship to Moynahan. I don’t know the circumstances of their relationship, and I don’t know who knew what when. I do know two things: 1) that Brady’s desire to be a full-time dad has absolutely nothing to do with the question of whether he’s acted responsiby in relation to a child for whom he clearly will not be a full-time dad. 2) I have never seen a professional athlete who fathered a child out of wedlock, with a woman with whom his relationship ended before the child was born, be given so much respect by the media as a father. This morning on the Boomer and Carton show, the new WFAN morning team concluded an interview with Brady by asking how his kid was in a way that made it impossible to tell whether Brady was living under the same roof as his child or not. If there are other examples of other professional athletes having kids under such circumstances who get this kind of treatment, please let me know. I want to emphasize – I have no personal opinion about this particular case – I am not privy to any of the intimate details. I am struck, however, by the contrast in treatment of Brady’s situation to those of other athletes who had kids in similar circumstances. Remember, this is an issue to which Sports Illustrated once devoted a major cover story.

2016 promises to be a great year in race relations, doesn’t it? Ooh boy.



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