• Brian L. Barefield

Go Away Black Dad

One thing that has plagued the African American community for a long time has been the lack of presence from black fathers. No male figure in some of these homes have led to young men being incarcerated at an alarming rate. Now I am not saying that crime in the black communities should be solely based on the dads abandoning their responsibilities, but it does play a large part in it and society is quick to point that out every chance they get.

Just last month during the 2019 NBA Draft a lot was made of the fact that so many African American dads were in attendance to celebrate their son’s hard work and accomplishments (check out my article Black Men Matter). Those fathers had been in their child’s life the entire time and helped them grow to become the young men they are today.

I previously stated in another article that according to over 57% of black children are living without their dads being in the home and most seek guidance from any male figure they can attach themselves too that they think their mom will be with for at least six months. It’s sad but true.

Yet there is one black dad out there who is knocking down all the stereotypes about black fathers not being involved in their kids’ lives and the media is attacking him for it. This past weekend at an AAU game in Las Vegas, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James joined his son Bronny and his teammates in the layup line and put on a show with amazing high-flying dunks. He also received alley-oops from his son’s teammates that were delighted to be sharing the same court with the future Hall of Famer.

This should be where the story ends, and everyone feels good that LeBron has bucked the trend of black fathers leaving their children to be raised by single black mothers right. Mr. James, who was raised in a single parent home by his mother Gloria James was doing what a lot of dad’s around the country do and that is find a way to bond with their kids. Some use hunting, fishing, video games, yard work, etc. to spend time with their sons. Lebron’s method of connecting with Bronny just so happens to be the one thing that he has excelled in his whole life and that’s basketball.

Do you think that Archie Manning has never thrown passes to teammates of his son’s Peyton and Eli when they were younger? Has Dell Curry never shot around with his son’s Steph and Seth?

On today, some sports media personalities took it upon themselves to criticize LeBron for having fun with his son and the rest of the team. Although the kids enjoyed every minute of it, the adults had a major problem with it and took to the airwaves to talk about it.

Fox Sports One analyst and co-host of the show Undisputed Shannon Sharpe took an unusual approach and agreed with Skip Bayless who is the host of the show in criticizing James.

“If this was Melo Ball and Lavar started doing this, we’d go crazy,” said Sharpe. “This is the Jr’s time, his teammates time to shine. I just wished he wouldn’t do it. You don’t need no recognition at no AAU game.”

Skip Bayless, who is never one to miss any opportunity to bash LeBron, chimed in as well.

“This was embarrassing to LeBron James and especially to his son, Bronny,” Bayless said. “He upstaged his poor kid. Lebron has become so attention starved.”

This wasn’t the first time Bayless has had an issue with LeBron’s bonding moments with his son. One year-ago Bayless had an issue with James doing the same thing at the Vegas AAU tournament and went on the same tirade as today.

“Finally, after 15 seasons, LeBron James has finally participated in and won a dunk contest against 13-year old’s. Against seventh graders,” said Bayless.

Fox Sports One must have sent out a memo telling all sports host to bash and berate LeBron every chance they got today because on the show Speak For Yourself the host Jason Whitlock also had some very negative things to say.

“LeBron is making a spectacle of himself,” Whitlock said in his monologue on his show. “A circus of his son’s early playing days and using his son’s game as yet another platform to build the LeBron social media brand.”

Here is where the problem lies for me. Sharpe and Whitlock are both African American males who have told numerous stories on air about their upbringings in poverty-stricken situations. Some similar to myself, so I feel confident when I say that I am pretty sure they have seen what absenteeism of black father can do to their son’s. Are we to believe that these two gentlemen do not know of a single African American male whose life could have been changed if his dad was in the house? They have no friends or relatives that are currently incarcerated, strung out on drugs, or dealing with heavy mental health issues because dad decided that he wanted no parts of his life?

You would think they would applaud LeBron for taking time away from his busy schedule to show Bronny and Bryce that no matter what, he will always make time for them. Something most black dads run away from including his own. Yet instead of giving James a round of applause, they decided to shoot social media slugs at him for Twitter followers and retweets.

Now my friends outside of the media will believe me when I say you can tell who a real sports media personality in the summer months are when there is no football or basketball to discuss. Instead of finding content to put together, they tend to talk about things like a black man spending time with his son and his friends.

Damn Shame.

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