Since we’re talking about family planning in the other thread, this story about football player Travis Henry seems timely.
I know diddly-squat about football–talk to Becky Sharper about that–but here’s a dude who, whatever abilities he has on the gridiron, does not have it together when he’s walking around in the real world. In addition to having drug trafficking charges brought against him, he’s now being prosecuted for failing to pay child support for his nine kids, scattered all over the country.
I’m not going to shake my finger at Henry for sleeping around, or having children out of wedlock. That’s called slut shaming, even if it’s directed at a dude. But seriously, chief: wrap that thing up. Nine kids, only one of whom was planned? Would you perhaps have learned after the second, maybe third unplanned pregnancy to always wear a fucking condom?
He’s playing the victim here by saying that he mistakenly trusted his girlfriends to be responsible for birth control (’cause that’s always and only women’s work) and that “they were out for blood.” Poor guy. I might have more sympathy if it didn’t look like he was doing his damndest to avoid being financially responsible for the children he’s sired, while living pretty high on the hog–though “not out of line” compared to his fellow pro-athletes: he only spent a quarter of a mill on jewelry! (Oh. Well, okay then…)
Interesting though, that there’s focus on the man as responsible at all–that seems new, and preferable to another article on manipulative women trapping men into marriage or child-support. Where it gets really weird, though, is while the story is about Henry’s particular situation, the Times‘ “Post a Comment” prompt question is about whether the NFL should take more measures to educate their athletes about “the perils of fame.”
Does that even make sense? The perils of fame are cocaine trafficking and begetting children you can’t support? Do other employers feel responsible to educate their workers about following the law and exercising common sense?
Obviously I think Henry is–and should be held–responsible for his actions, but the greater question is: how do we as a culture prevent this unthinking behavior? It’s a big, messy question that I can only begin to tease out, but my guess is that dismantling the patriarchy might go some way towards it…