When it comes to babies, family, some athletes have it backward

March 06, 2007|By SUSAN REIMER

Here's a look at the fractured family values in the world of sports, where baby-daddyism is the new nuclear family.

Two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, is expecting a child with an actress girlfriend he appears to have dumped just after the stick turned blue.

Bridget Moynahan is more than three months' pregnant, according to her publicist - the same publicist who announced in the middle of December that the couple had split up.

You do the math.

Brady is now with Victoria's Secret model Gisele Bundchen, but he announced that he's thrilled about the baby. No word on whether Gisele shares his enthusiasm.

National Basketball Association franchise LeBron James is expecting his second child - not with a wife, but at least with the same girlfriend. When asked when the baby was due, James took a stab at the month of June and then told reporters to "ask the mama."

James and Savannah Brinson already have a son, LeBron James Jr., but no wedding plans. When asked how parenthood has affected his life, James talked about how it had changed him, though it has not changed his marital status.

Also among the ranks of unmarried fathers who play professional sports is Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, whose ex-girlfriend also turned up pregnant.

Brynn Cameron and Leinart were college sweethearts at USC, where she was a basketball player for the Trojans (fill in joke here). Now they are the DNA Dream Team.

But Leinart, who was the toast of Hollywood while quarterbacking USC to a pair of national championships, and Cameron split last spring, supposedly after a few too many cell phone photos of him partying with the stars.

He was there for the birth of son Cole this past fall and came back to practice with the Arizona Cardinals, who signed him for a reported $51 million, showing off baby pictures.

"Now my next job is to be a great dad," he said.

Some would argue that being a great dad requires that you first be a great husband to the baby's mother. But, hey, it is different in pro sports.

Unless, apparently, you are Tiger Woods.

Woods said recently that he will skip July's British Open, the oldest and most venerated tournament in golf, if wife Elin is close to delivering their first child.

"That's the most important thing, not another golf tournament," Woods told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I just wouldn't go. If she's going to have the baby during the week of the Open, I just don't go."

I am not sure I want to be Mrs. Woods if false contractions keep Tiger away from Scotland and his third consecutive British Open victory.

And one might ask why Tiger - who plans every golf shot with the precision of a mathematician - was doing what he was doing nine months before the most important tournament on the schedule, but maybe family mattered more then, too.

Seems pretty simple to me, but all my husband gave up for the birth of his first child was a seat in the press box at the NCAA Wrestling Championship.

I'm guessing that Woods might be the best daddy of them all. His father, Earl, who died last year, was a devoted example for him.

But Woods' baby will have one more thing going for it - parents who are married to each other.

susan.reimer@baltsun.com

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