It is already one of the most embarrassing video clips in sports history, and it has nothing to do with dropped passes or missed dunks. It is footage of
Cromartie, in the HBO reality series "Hard Knocks," sits on the field, counting his kids on his fingers. At times he seems to struggle remembering them, and he skips one of their names altogether.
Then again, who could blame him? He has, by his own count, fathered eight children, apparently with six different women. Only at the end of his list does he say, "And I have my newborn with my wife."
So Cromartie is the new face of irresponsible fatherhood. But while he has more than earned the honor (the
Fathering kids as if you're watering plants is a growing problem in the sports world, particularly in African-American circles. And if we are gong to talk about this issue, we need to drop our sensitivities toward this fact.
No, African Americans aren't the only ones having kids out of wedlock. But, yes, the news is worst in that community, where, in recent data from the
And if the culture doesn't change, neither will the pattern.
A busy year of procreating
Cromartie, in listing his offspring on "Hard Knocks," mentions four who are around age 3. I'll never understand men who father kids as if opening
That's unforgivable. Obviously, Cromartie enjoys his sex, but is it a sin to take precautions? Or does he think his seed is so special he needs to procreate on a quarterly basis?
And what about the women involved? Are they that naive? Or do some figure the fastest route to a sports star's wallet is through the delivery room?
Both parties ignore the well-documented consequences of absent fathers. Lack of guidance, discipline or demonstration of the love and respect needed in a marriage. Crime rates, dropout rates, violence rates -- all are higher for kids without fathers. It's not like this is a secret.
Yet the situation repeats, over and over. It is simply cruel. How will children ever learn their way out of the cycle? If we, in the 21st century, have fostered a culture where "baby mama" is an acceptable term, we have little to be proud of.
"A house without a father is a challenge,"
A problem for our society
Now comes Cromartie -- on prime-time TV -- to again demonstrate how flippant fatherhood can be. He actually has the nerve to tell the camera, "Soon as you leave (work) and get home you got to be that father figure."
He is not a father figure.
But, sadly, a white columnist bemoaning this issue won't change it in the black community. An older couple wagging fingers won't make young people listen. Critics may be dismissed with "it's not your place to say anything."
But it is my place and it is your place, black or white or brown, because we share this country, and playing
Cromartie's video is now the butt of endless Internet jokes. And almost unbelievably, Cromartie has complained only that HBO didn't show another clip in which he recited his children's names faster.
Hey, Antonio. It isn't how fast you remembered the kids. It's how fast you created them. And there's nothing funny about your story. It's sad. Really sad.
- Discovery Channel Aims Higher: Enlightened Reality TV
- If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise
- Katrina Kicks Off Tragedy Calendar
- Mad Men
- 8 Kids with 6 Moms? NFL Star Is Shameful
- Inside Nigel Lythgoe's Plans for American Idol
- Will Emmy Finally Gleam for Ann-Margret?
- DeGeneres Leaving 'American Idol': Jennifer Lopez May Be Joining
- '8 Kids with 6 Moms? NFL Star Is Shameful' - Great Show Set in Not-So-Great Era
- CNN's Larry King to Sign Off: Host Announces His Departure
- C-SPAN Now Reaches 100 Million Homes
- TV Networks Should Rethink Summer Strategy
- Fat Times For Weight-Loss TV Shows
- Grading Network Television Fall Schedules
- 'Lost' Found 'Net Niche: Stoked TV-Centric Blogosphere Fires
- Betty White - What We Can Learn From the Golden Girl
- Why News Is Aimed At Your Emotions
- Police Work and Reality TV: Not a Good Fit
- Media Overreaches As 'Lost' and Other TV Series Finish Up
- Television - Can TV News Be Saved?
- Television - Network News Doing Less with Less
- Television - Chattin' It up With iCarly's Miranda Cosgrove
- Television - Recurring Reality's Faux Sheen
- America Through the Reality Lens
- Television - TV Vets Assess Sitcoms
- Decade of Rapid Change
- TV's Best for 2009: Can't Pick Just 10
- Behind the Scenes at the Food Network
(c) 2010 Mitch Albom