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THE FATHERS OF OUR COUNTRY? SI PROBES OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHS
Published April 29, 1998
Professional athletes fathering of out-of-wedlock children is the focus of a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED special report this week, with a cover photo of Khalid Minor, son of Celtics G Greg Minor, above the header, "Where's Daddy?" The cover sub-head reads: "Pro athletes have fathered startling numbers of out-of-wedlock children. One NBA star has seven by six women. Paternity cases have disrupted teams. What's happening, and what does it mean for the kids left behind?" The story, by Wahl, Wertheim, Munson & Yaeger, chronicles the case of many pro athletes, most of whom declined to be interviewed for the piece (SI, 5/2). TWO EXAMPLES: One source at the Sonics told SI that Shawn Kemp's "well-publicized meltdown while playing with Seattle last year resulted primarily from the increasing pressures of paternity and child support obligations." In New England, Patriots VP/Public & Community Relations Don Lowery mentions the team's role in working with RB Dave Meggett, who "became entangled in ... paternity obligations." Lowery: "We didn't want to get involved in this, but this was one of our key players, who had the potential of not playing because he could be arrested. It was a distraction for the organization, no question about that." But Richard Lapchick of Northeastern's Center for the Study of Sport in Society doubts that sports has higher incidents of out-of-wedlock children than other high-paying professions: "My guess is that if FORTUNE looked at CEOs and another magazine looked at the entertainment industry, you'd see similar numbers." Wahl, Wertheim, Munson & Yaeger add that athletes "are anything but deadbeat dads. Once paternity has been established, athletes are among the most reliable at paying support" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 5/4 issue).