Ask anyone about a deadbeat dad and you will get a mixture of responses. Some, tinged with the hurt, bitterness and resentment of a mother, daughter or son left forlorn and abandoned from a immature and heartless "man" concerned more about his own self-interests than raising his child while others share a story of an upstanding man attempting a life of shared custody only to be bombarded with accusations of being a deadbeat simply because he has no desire to be in a romantic relationship with his child's mother. Both scenarios are all too common and although the single parent household epidemic knows no color boundaries, it has hit no racial group harder than the Black family.
These days, the two parent household is a rarity. With a 50% divorce rate, there's a 1 in 2 chance that a romantic relationship ending in marriage will not eventually wind up in divorce court. Studies have concluded that children that are a by-product of a fatherless home often fare worse in life than those in a two parent home and are subject to greater bouts of depression, violent behavior, emotional stress and earlier experimentation with drugs, alcohol and sex due to poverty (Ketteringham: Associated Content 2007)
So when Litall text me about Chris Bosh, affectionately nicknamed CB4 Chris Bosh, face of the Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh, being sued by his former live-in girlfriend, 28 year old Allison Mathis, for child support, I was initially confused.
The Toronto Star first broke the story Tuesday about Ms. Mathis accusations of Bosh's "Jekyl and Hyde" behavior as the NBA All-Star celebrated his 25th birthday. In her suit she claims Bosh went from being a lovable fiancée with plans of matrimony and fatherhood to a cruel, indifferent "deadbeat" father and socially irresponsible athlete who upon his return from Olympic gold in Beijing broke off the relationship, leaving his child's mother 7 months pregnant without financial support even after suffering from complications that forced an emergency C-section this past November.
All that said, how can a family oriented man with a charity for children dedicated to teaching children how to read potentially expose his 4 month old daughter to a life of borderline poverty where her mother is working two jobs, "robbing Peter to pay Paul" to keep food on the table and the utilities on because of a soured relationship with her mother? Apparently with the same ease to attempt to have Mathis removed from the $1.6 million dollar Texas home they jointly owned and to petition a paternity test. Yes, Bosh with a 99.97% accuracy, you ARE the father and yes, there are two sides to every story.
Bosh released this statement to reporters vowing to "man up" and handle his parental duties: "All I can say is that I'm going to take care of my responsibilities like I've been doing in the past and in the future and keep respecting everyone. I love my daughter, I love myself and I respect her mother and I'll leave it at that."
Maybe the humble,well-spoken All-NBA franchise player that enlisted his cousin to stay with him as his anchor upon first becoming a 19 year old millionaire upon his arrival in Toronto six seasons ago is one in the same as the man who has only had visitation with his daughter twice since her birth. The Clark Kent to Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor. Unfortunately, much like his mega star peers, Chris Bosh is no Superman. His public persona is forever altered from the warped reality of squeaky clean poster boys of community service and excellence on the court that the media and fans view him as. Yet, like Kobe and his scandalous one night stand, devout Christian Dwight Howard and his child out of wedlock and Dwyane Wade in his bitter divorce proceedings with allegations of child neglect and STD's, scandal will arise and in time it will disappear under rug swept.
A constant fixture courtside at Raptors' games in happier times, Allison Mathis and Chris Bosh cousin, heckle Lebron James at Raptors vs Cavaliers game last year.
All the while, it is the spouses, children and other family members that suffer. Non-surprisingly, while his ex-girlfriend and Trinity (his daughter) are barely treading water under the burden of mounting medical bills, Bosh and his lawyer, Vince Wills plan to proceed with the motion denying that allegations that he
"I know how things are," Bosh commented. "If I can live with myself, that's all that matters. I know what I've done, and it's good things. So contrary to what some people say or do, I know that I have a positive outlook on everything, I respect everyone, I look out for everyone, and things have always been good for me."
At the end of the day, fans will forgive, the endorsements will continue to roll in and the Raptors' will redeem their playoff contentions next season it's not about Mathis or Bosh but that innocent little girl who didn't ask to be born. God bless the child if she winds up on a stripper pole, gets involved in loveless and or abusive relationships, becomes an addict or sexually active early in life like many of her peers growing up in fatherless homes.
That's one thing I hope he live without.
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