Turn on your TV and they’re everywhere, hawking shoes, cars, credit cards, soup, watches, you name it and there is a professional athlete endorsing it. These men whom seem larger than life (and in some cases are) have become rock stars since the invent of cable and satellite TV.
They are young, handsome and rich! Young boys want to be like them (I wanna be like Mike), adult men idolize them and women worship them like they’re the reincarnation of the Beatles. Who would have ever thought that dribbling a basketball or catching a football would one day propel simple men to such global iconic status.
However, with all of this wealth and adulation comes a price and many professional athletes are paying or have paid this price at one time or another. This price is failure to maintain matrimonial relationships. Now why this major failure exists is anyones guess, however we can speculate that at the base of it is the lack of one major ingredient necessary to maintain any relationship, trust.
While I was in the middle of writing this post I received a phone call from a female friend of mine and out of the blue i posed this questions to her. “Would you consider marrying a professional athlete?” After asking why I would ask such a question (she doesn’t know about this blog), she responded quite eagerly, “Hell yes!”
My next question to her was why? She informed me that she would because of the status it would afford her and the wealth. However, she added that she wouldn’t be foolish enough to actually think that he might be faithful to her.
This statement sums up why the divorce rate for professional athletes hovers between 60-80%. There is no real trust going in so how could they possibly sustain any real relationship?
Now, before people blow a gasket on the above statement lets take a look at trust from the athletes prospective. Here’s a guy whom more than likely came from a lower-income family and because of his athletic prowess he garners tons of attention. Women that probably wouldn’t even speak to him if he wasn’t on the cover of some magazine are now jockeying for position to spend time with him. Oh, and this is while he is in College, he hasn’t even made it yet.
Turn on the TV and he’s on sports center and in the school book store you can purchase his jersey for $75 plus tax. (oh, and by the way he makes no profit from this sale). When his stock really rises, agents begin to not only pop up, but they also arrive in the form of women. Hey, he’s in college so legally he cannot talk to an agent yet. But, that doesn’t keep agents from dealing with his girlfriend (the one he wouldn’t have had if he wasn’t a rising star). Agents know that if they can get to her, she could possibly steer him to them when the time comes for a professional contract.
So now, draft day comes and this kid whose mother worked two shifts at a local mill gets drafted in the first round and it’s just like hitting the lottery! Thirty million dollars and a ten million dollar signing bonus and he hasn’t even suited up for a NBA, NFL or MLB team yet. To make things even worse, reporters publicize these figures in the news, telling the world how wealthy this 21-year-old kid is.
In no other section of our society (other than actors/actresses) do they publicize how much an individual makes to the world. Could you imagine if one day you open your neighborhood newspaper and in big bold print it read, “MAGAN promoted to Office Manager @ $95K per year”. It’d be pretty awkward to say the least.
So now, if he thought he was popular in College he hasn’t seen nothing yet. Now, he’s popular and wealthy, overnight. He now discovers that he has friends and family he never knew existed and everyone wants something from him, everyone. He begins to question everyone’s motives for approaching him, especially women. College women are one thing, random women who run up to him in the mall are something else totally. Phone numbers on the windshield of his new Hummer begin to wear thin after a while. Oh, and he hasn’t even ran into the apparatus called the “Professional Groupie.” (Refer to video at the end of this post)
So believe me when I tell you that by the time he ever reaches the alter he has been exploited by the University, girlfriends, agents and family members. Therfore he’ll be having trust issues in his sleep for years to come.
How do you find the woman of your dreams when the rules have changed and you’re not a regular guy anymore by societal standards? This is a tough question I think. How can you trust anyone when with every woman you take out you’re asking yourself, “Is she with me because she really likes me, or because of who I am”? Sometimes the answer to this question could be answered by simply looking into the mirror. There is no way on this earth that Mike Tyson was supposed to end up with Robin Givens. Sorry Mike, but I had to say it and I am just being real.
Making it more difficult to trust anyone is the stories he will read in the tabloids, hear from his teammates and coaches about how some player is getting divorced and his wife is taking him to the cleaners. If that isn’t enough to make him skeptical in the love department then the tales of paternity suits and allegations of sexual and physical assault surely won’t make him feel any safer.
Unfortunately even that isn’t enough today, Dwayne Wade and his wife are in a bitter divorce. These two had been together since the 7th grade. Oh, and by the way, he’s now dating Gabrielle Union whom his ex states caused the split. Drama, so much drama.
So now, since some of you will undoubtably still accept an opportunity to wed a pro athlete let me ask this. Could you marry a man with trust issues to begin with? Think about it, if this were a regular guy who worked a regular job and you felt that he may not be faithful to you, would you marry him anyway?
The first sign of lack of trust is the Prenuptial agreement. Unconditional love would never suggest such a thing and would be appalled at the thought. How could anyone consciously ask someone to sign a document saying that in the event the marriage doesn’t work you get X Y & Z? It baffles my mind when someone famous gets divorce and the media questions whether he or she has a prenuptial agreement. I always ask myself, what the hell was she or he thinking?
Do you know what a prenup does for marriages? It tells both parties that the marriage probably won’t last and they expect it not to. It also tells the person who is asked to sign it that they are worth a specific amount of cash, property etc if they agree to marry this person. That’s not love folks, its warped thinking by people who place material wealth above everything else, to include real love.
If for whatever reason my wife requested a divorce from me today, this is what I would do. I know this because we went through a rough patch a couple of years ago. We discussed divorce and legal separation and this is exactly what I told her; “I will not allow any attorney to determine who gets what in a marriage that they were never apart of. We’ll pick up the documents, we’ll fill them out together and you may have anything you want. All I really care about is having access to my children unconditionally. I told her that she could have any and all investments, the house, checking accounts and furnishings because I can start over. The most important thing to me was ensuring that the lives of my children didn’t change one bit.
Well we worked through it and fortunately we’re still together. In our society today it’s too damn easy to simply get a divorce. No one ever said that marriage was easy. However it can be if you chose to work together instead of quitting at the first sign of trouble.
Recently, we’ve seen Tiger Woods divorced, Dwayne Wade getting a divorce, Tony Parker and Eva Longoria called it splits earlier this week and although few know, Steve Nash and his wife are splitting as well. Oh, and the woman who Tony Parker is suspected of having an affair with is getting a divorce as well and her husband is a former NBA player, go figure.
A lot of these divorces can also be attributed to the choices these athletes make in their selection of the women they marry. Sit down and try to watch (to watch a whole episode is considered cruel and unusual punishment) a few minutes of “Basketball Wives”. It will allow you to understand why the divorce rate within this industry is so damn high.
However, in the midst of all of this drama and the carnage left behind with all of these divorces there are still a few players who still have solid marriages. After Magic Johnson’s announcement most women would have run, all the way to the bank. Not Cookie, she’s stood beside him through thick and thin. When Kobe had his indiscretion in that Colorado hotel, Vanessa could have taken him for everything if she chose, and instead she stood beside the man she loves. Guess what the both of these marriages have in common? Neither have a prenuptial agreement. They were both lucky enough to discover women who loved them unconditionally, not for what they can get.
Now before I go I want to share one more thing with you. Hillary Clinton didn’t leave Bill Clinton when he was being grilled by Republicans about his supposed affair with a White House intern. She could have and no one would have blamed her, instead she stood by her man. When asked about this, Hillary stated, “There are things that are far worse in marriage than infidelity”. Maybe she’s right?