"The Girlies are free but these babies cost money."
Today I would like to dedicate my journalistic endeavors to the memory of basketball legend, Earl Manigault. Earl " The Goat" Manigault, was a New York City playground legend and was the subject of the HBO movie "Rebound". Goat's superior basketball talent deteriorated with years of heroin use, depriving him of a chance for a professional career. Manigault died on May 14, 1998 at the age of 53. Like many of our talented brothers from the streets, bad breaks and a lack of discipline sent him stumbling into a world of heroin addiction and petty crimes. You do not have to be from Harlem to identify with the Goat or athletes and their lack of discipline. Professional Basketball players are under the microscope due to recent expose of their sexual behavior, in Sports Illustrated (SI), The Oprah Winfrey Show and CNN. I want to take a serious but satirical look at this phenomenon.
Warning, this column may offend some. So let me start by telling you an old "Joke" to warm you up. A young British man, truly in love with his girlfriend, decided to have her name tattooed on his penis. Her name was Wendy, and the tattoo was done while his penis was erect, so when it was flaccid all you could see was W Y. The young couple married and honeymooned in Jamaica. One day while standing at a urinal, the groom looked over and noticed a Jamaican man next to him who also had a W Y on his penis. "Is your girl named Wendy, too ?" the Brit asked. "No, mon ... that say, 'Welcome To Jamaica -- Have a Nice Day.'"
To me this joke is hilarious but the typical white male might not be so amused. Many white males are envious about the commonly perpetuated belief that Black men have big penises. Because of this a lot of Black men find themselves being "peeked at" in the gym while undressing. In fact the penis theory and the idea that Black males make good athletes are probably the only two stereotypes that we don't complain about. The two ideas go hand and hand, but the penis thing has a much longer history. Tales of African men with a hanging phallus were "whispered loudly" throughout the West, since African men and European people first met.
Unfortunately this "penis envy" which is currently associated with High School boys has a deep racially tainted history. For Black men it has resulted in some of the most horrific consequences. Take for example the dragging murder which took place in Jasper,Texas. This sort of violence has been happening to Black men in America for a long time. The noticeable difference in this crime is that they did not castrate Mr.Byrd. The annals of history will show unparrelled documentation that Black males more often then not had their penises cut off in addition to being lynched from a tree. I am not saying that Mr.Byrd was hung because of his penis size but what I am saying is that "their is powerful symbolism in castrating a Black man".The symbolism is at the crux of what racism is really all about. Make no mistake his "dragging death was a lynching". It is no different from the violence committed upon Emmit Till. Black men may be guilty of many things but castration has never been one of them. The subconcious message to Black men : "Stay away from White Women".
This sort of situation is not confined to social circles but religious circles have played a role also. Starting with the Babylonian Talmud. Jewish Historian, Dr.Harold D.Brackman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote in his 1977 UCLA Ph.D. dissertation "The Ebb and Flow of Conflict: A History of Black Jewish Relations Through 1900" -pg.80. "There is no denying that the Babylonian Talmud was the first source to read a Negro phobic content into the episode". What does this have to do with basketball players and their lack of penis control you ask? Let's look a little closer and explore the whole Hamitic Myth. The Hamitic Myth alleges that God, through the biblical Noah, cursed African People for all eternity, made them black and ugly, endowed them with thick lips, big red eyes, kinky hair and for the men- elongated penises".
This Talmud doctrine is insulting to all black people but the latter half of it leaves Black males grinning.The constant reinforcement of the "Big Black Phallus" through social circles and religious propaganda has made the Black male but especially the Black athletes a source of sexual curiosity for women of other racial makeups. Spike Lee captured the type of "sexual luxury" that many of these athletes are faced with in his movie "He Got Game".
African-American male athletes marry outside their race at a much higher percentage than other African-Americans. (Maybe they have been deluded into thinking that this is retribution for past lynchings.) I am willing to wager that many of the children they have spawned in these "groupie relationships" have been from white women. By no means, does that infer that they should not take care of the kids. But it does mean that it is biased reporting. Since the majority of the focus concerning these athletes has been heaped upon the Black community. It ignores the White community and portrays the Black community through a tainted prism. Since out of wedlock birth is so prevalent among players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the NBA is over 80% Black there are a lot of assumptions being made and drawn. I have observed one or two white women complaining about the paternity suits but about six or seven black women. This then is a small representation of who is giving birth to these children. Very little of the actual cases have been reported by the media. According to SI, "90% of athlete related paternity cases are settled quietly before they become a matter of public record." SI also notes that "there are NO studies on athletes and their out of wedlock kids, but those familiar with the issue say the numbers are staggering. I'd say that there might be more kids out of wedlock than there are players in the NBA" -pg.64
It seems that many people have been misled by the sensationalized innuendos and ignored the facts noted by SI.Ex. "A 1995 survey by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) shows that 32% of U.S. children are born to unwed mothers compared with 18% in 1980.It could easily be argued that the spate of out of wedlock births among athletes reflect a societal epidemic..... it is unfair and inaccurate to discuss it in a way that stereotypes, stigmatizes or singles out athletes." The term "Societal epidemic" includes both the Black and White community. If you consider the statistical tabulation of the NCHS you realize that there would almost assuredly have to be more White women having children out of wedlock than Black.
Do most of these women target athletes? Of course they do. Nobody said these ladies were noble. But if an athletes like Shawn Kemp is foolish enough to "get caught out there" seven times by six different women why would you sympathize with him? Don't put all the athletes in the same boat. Judge them based on the merits of their individual situations. Money will make the ugliest of men look like Denzel Washington. These women know that a precedent has been set which unfairly taxes rich jocks. Imagine paying 9,000 a month in child support in addition to 30,000 a year for a nanny. It is not a matter of whether or not the athlete can afford it at the time. This must be an issue of fairness instead of trying to figure out which party is more irresponsible.
I have no point of reference for understanding what it is like to be targeted for my money. I am a hard working "frugal man", notice I did not say cheap. I have to watch where my bucks go and how much I spend. (Those dollars add up). Pro athletes should hire me to watch their money. I am a specialist at that I can count money in a dark closet or reach into my back pocket filled with bills of $20, $5 and $1 and pull out all the one dollar bills. I could show them how to hide that wealth.
It is hard to say no, to the temptation of pretty women constantly making advances especially for young men in their sexual prime but how can it be hard to put on a condom in 1998? I thought Magic Johnson taught us something.
It is a shame that many of these athletes are easy prey due to their lack of discipline. The Black athletes already carry a "legacy of physical endowment" which causes sexual curiosity and envy which probably occasionally rears its head in the form of a judges unfair ruling. Look at it like this "I'd rather be sued for paternity than caught for HIV" . So remember the "girlies are free" but these babies cost money.
One last sporting note congratulations to the 6 time NBA Champion Chicago Bulls and Finals MVP, Michael Jordan . Worth mentioning- a 43 year-old California woman has filed a paternity suit against Michael Jordan. The suit, filed in L A Superior Court, claims that the basketball superstar fathered her 15-year-old son during a one-night stand before he was married. Jordan's attorney says the suit is bogus and they intend to fight the suit to the end. Kudos to Bull player Dennis Rodman who has said that he wants to pay for Mr.Byrd's funeral, forgive the fact that he stated that he does not date any Black women.
-- Cinque Brown