By Dr. Chris A. Heidelberg & Charles "Chip" Jenkins, Jr., Esq.
Often at The Real Gold Standard, Chip and I have legitimate differences of opinion on the issues that Chip usually writes about and speaks about on our web sites. As a publisher and producer, a major part of my job is bringing new ideas and topics to the table and this is when the controversy and the debates begin. This is why Chip often brings me into the fray to answer comments on hot button issues after he has already started the fire that has transformed into a towering inferno. Chip's last post set off the alarm bells on the topic of marriage, so I decided to provide another voice on this subject. All of this brings me to our article for today which will be the
first of many that feature both of us expressing our opinions on hot issues. For purposes of continuity these debates will be called point- counter point. I will be arguing for marriage, and you can guess everyone's favorite bachelor, Chip, will be the defense lawyer for not getting married. Warning, you will be laughing often while reading this article!
Today's issue is marriage, and should high profile figures marry the mothers of their children when there are multiple children involved and there is no abuse, drugs, or mental illness involved?
We are tackling this issue because one reader Hassan suggested that we tackle this issue because LeBron James spoke so highly of wanting to make sure that his kids look up to him as a father and as a dad. However, Chip's father, the Godfather, credited LeBron for being named the NBA's MVP again plainly and then emphatically stated to Hassan, "Yeah, he's doing great winning the MVP, taking great care of the boys, their mother and his mom, but he still hasn't married that girl yet." When Hassan relayed me this story, I was initially shocked and I wondered will Chip want to really tackle this one? Well if you have read this site or watched our videoblogs, you know that no one is too sacred and no topic is off limits! So you know what that means? LeBron, we didn't want to do it, but we have to do it! Even though we love you LeBron, we had to do it because we have taken Gilbert Arenas, Tiger, Big Ben and other folks that we actually like to the woodshed. Don't worry Lawrence Taylor, the original L.T., you are next!
As a point of disclosure, I have met LeBron and on both occasions he has really been a great guy and a real credit to the sport. I love his style, his business acumen and how he carries it as a strong "goal model." Yes, I have great love for the brother, but as a father of a daughter I wish he would marry the sister.
The marriage rate for Black men is horrific in this country! In fact, the marriage rate for Black men is so horrible that less than 50% of brothers are not married. In fact, the real number is embarrassing that I will not even mention it in this article. For the record, Anglo men in America are joining the unwed mothers' game too, so let's not make this a racial thing. I mean even Tom Brady took a minute before settling down and he didn't really get taken to task by the media elite for ditching his actress girlfriend and rolling with supermodel Giselle. Listen, I am not a hater, I get it! However, I wonder what is going to become of the social order if people stop making the ultimate commitment and decide not to put it on paper! I do not even have a problem if a brother pulls a Kanye, and says, "If you not a punk holler, we want pre-nupt, yeah it's something that you need to have, so when we she leave your butt she don't leave with half." As a dad who just put in the 18 years plus that Kanye West refers to in his song, I think that we need to get these young brothers to make a statement and start marrying these sisters! Claim them! I mean we are talking two kids in LeBron's case, not one! If she is good enough for two kids, you obviously trust her, so to quote LeBron's real friend Beyonce: put a ring on it!
We cannot and should not complain about the young men today of every stripe, especially young men of color, when we as men are not doing our part to bring back the social order. It is interesting to me that gay men are fighting tooth and nail to get married and have kids while straight men are running from the sisters, their babies and marriage like it is a terminal condition! Please brothers, if you can afford to pay the costs to be the boss or even the king, you can afford to crown a queen. At least LeBron is taking care of his kids and his mom and that is a start! With great power, comes great responsibility, LeBron this is your chance to send a message to the brothers. You have had two kids and you probably have a list of female admirers that most men could only dream of my brother, but if you want to really show your sons what they need to do just marry their mother and show them that she is worthy of you for life. There is an old saying in sports that dictates that you play to the whistle and you finish plays with authority, so in the words of your favorite sponsor just do it!
Listen, marriage is not prison! Alright if you have been institutionalized with a 20 plus to life sentence like me, you will find out that it isn't half bad and you actually live longer, are healthier, and tend to be wealthier. The fact that LeBron is wealthy takes away the number one excuse that most of us brothers use to prevent getting married: finances. Yeah, Chip you can't use this as an excuse either! Counselor, I understand that your argument is that Lebron is in his twenties and that he should take his time because we don't need another Tiger! To the contrary my friend, Tiger's experience should tell LeBron that he better love the one you're with because you cannot trust the rest because some may be golddiggers, some may be angry and some may be looking for fame. Chip none of us is clean or angels and I include myself in the picture. Let's get brothers in the race for the long haul to teach our sons to man up and be responsible. Now, is the time to step your game up LeBron, and counselor I am not surprised that you are defending the indefensible because it is a product of your legal training, but most of these women live in the real world and often do what they have to do because they have fewer options. In fact, I would submit to you that even with a big payday that LeBron's girl actually has fewer options because how many real men will want to have the shadow of LeBron James always in the picture because he is a tough act to follow. I just want girls like my daughter to have the same opportunities as boys have, and I am afraid that this opportunity is being lost when a young women is giving up her productive years with no commitment, and saddled with children, often multiple children, to raise alone and that is sad. Now it is true that too many of these sisters are making bad decisions, and are making it real easy for brothers to get away with the nonsense, so they need to step up their games too! At the end of the day, the bottom line my brother, is that Lebron and brothers like him need to step their games up because they are the future. I know he can do it! I am rooting for him to win it off the court and on the court and I want him to win a championship in both arenas too, but please for God's sake let the king lead the next generation by example and the preachers and parents will have a fighting chance to balance things out for our women! That's my take, and that my friends is The Real Gold Standard! Please folks, spare me the puritanical references because you know that I don't roll that way! Alright ladies and gentlemen, Chip Jenkins will make his case for the defense.
Dr. Chris I love you like a brother, but you must be out of your mind. You are telling me that LeBron James is the father of two kids by the same lady, yet he hasn't made her an honest woman. All I can say is that there is a reason he ain't married. To be honest with you Chris, I have to give LeBron credit. Unlike a large percentage of the population, LeBron has decided to take his sweet time before he ties the knot and why shouldn't he ? He is a multimillionaire basketball player who has the potential to become a billionaire. The last thing my man LeBron needs is to have the public talking about what a rat he is for sleeping with other women. Besides as far as I'm concerned, kids or no kids, he is too young to get married. LeBron is only twenty five years old. He probably has another fifteen years in the league. Do you really expect him to enter the priesthood at such a tender age?
I've noticed something about you married guys. Why is it that every last one of you wants me, the single guy, to join your club? I am a single guy. By definition, that means I don't have a wife to cheat on! In other words, I am Mr. Clean. Now all you married guys or men of the cloth as I call you think we single guys should commit. My only question is whose side are you on? Leave us be! We are single for a reason and it's not the reason you think.
This is what kills me. You married guys think that our weekends look like one of Hugh Heffner's soirees. I have married friends that routinely ask me what night club I am going to. My response is to look at them like they have two heads. On the weekends, I usually piddle around my house, go to the mall, catch a UFC pay per view and try to recover from the rigors of a stressful work week. If a lady friend should happen to drop by, well, I enjoy that as well. Being single doesn't mean you are out with a lamp shade on top of your head.
In my humble opinion, marriage is a huge decision that should not be entered into lightly. If you are not married, it doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with you. Society has a vested interest in its citizens getting married. However you should not, unless you just absolutely have come to the conclusion that you cannot live without this person. Having a child with someone is just one consideration in whether you should marry someone or not.
You make a valid point that the marriage rate for black males is significantly less than 50%. It sounds to me like you are stating that this is a sad commentary for the black family. Part of me wants to agree with you. I have had the benefit of growing up in a loving two parent family. My folks were very supportive and are still supportive of all my endeavors. However professor, I must offer a dissenting opinion. Marriage, by definition, means forever. LeBron is twenty five years old. I have no idea if he is completely faithful to this woman or not, but I'm sure there is no shortage of women who are making him some very attractive offers. If LeBron got married now and strayed, he would be committing the cardinal sin of adultery. Maybe LeBron knows something we don't. Maybe LeBron holds the hallowed institution of marriage as sacred as I do and doesn't want to break his vows. By getting married before he is ready, LeBron is doing himself, his kids and the young lady in question a disservice. Not all of us were meant to be married professor, just like not all of us were meant to stand behind a lecturn and impart our knowledge to young and impressionable minds.
I hear the Afrocentric mantra of stand and be counted! Yes, there are a lot of brothers out there that are doing the right thing. They are married and have taken the time, care and effort to be good dads and even better husbands. To this segment of the population, I have nothing but applause. LeBron was bought up in a single parent household and he seems to have turned out to be a fine young man. Look, just because he can dunk a basketball does not make him obligated to carry the Ark of Respectability. Doctor, doctor, let this brother be. When he is ready to marry this lovely woman, who has given birth to his kids, he will do so after much contemplation and soul searching. If he ends up marrying someone else, then I am sure his decision will be made with the utmost care.
Did you forget that the government gets to collect higher taxes from people who are married? I'm not a misogamist Professor. I think the institution of marriage is a beautiful thing. If it weren't for marriage, I might not be here. All I know is that Tiger Woods got married, had two kids and then he realized he was missing out on the booty parade. Doctor I know you don't want the same thing to befall LeBron, do you ? To me, an NBA road trip sounds like nothing but an accident waiting to happen. LeBron James is a 25 year old man in the prime of his sexual life, not a 50 year old priest who has taken a vow of chastity. What do you think happens on the road professor?
Infidelity happens, I realize that. Kids or no kids, LeBron should not get married until he is ready.
For the record, we both love LeBron and will be rooting for him. We both agree that he is doing the right thing by taking care of his family, and we sincerely hope that men of every hue will willingly follow the example that he has set already. One of us, Dr. Chris, just believes that he will be better off getting married over the long haul, especially if he is trying to be a billionaire as he has stated that he has he wants to be. On the other hand, Chip, the single attorney and former pro athlete, believes that he should stay single because he is young, the temptations are many and legally he is in a great position right now . While we may disagree on marriage, both Chip and I want all brothers of every hue to step their games up so that this nation can compete economically on the global stage and win! One thing is for sure is that it is always interesting when the product of the single headed family is arguing for marrriage and the product of a successful marriage argues for staying single, it is clear that this case is far from closed so stay tuned for future editions of point-counterpoint.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard Dr. Chris' side of the argument and you have heard counselor Chip's side of the argument, who do you agree with and why? Register your vote online now with a comment and who you are voting for on this issue. You have heard the point and the counter-point and that my friends is The Real Gold Standard!