Tom Patterson: Why doesn’t the NFL tackle something that matters?

So the NFL has seen the error of his ways. No more Mr. Nice Guy. It’s time to crack down on sex and drugs, domestic violence and corporal punishment of children. You hurt your family and your community, you’re going to pay big time.

If that’s the way they really feel (and are not just seeking positive headlines), they should look at the worst devastation of all. That’s the human wreckage left by players who have multiple children, with multiple mamas, for whom they have no intention of being their daddy.

The problem of NFL players fathering children out of wedlock is epidemic. Ray Lewis, the former Ravens linebacker, has had six children by several women. Terrell Owens generously donated the sperm for four children with four women, Marshall Faulk did the same honors for six children by four women. The Cardinals’ own Antonio Cromarte reached near legendary status by fathering an astonishing 10 children by eight women. And on and on.

You can’t excuse Ray Rice for cold-cocking his wife or Adrian Peterson for switching his son. But the effect of these behaviors pales in comparison to the devastation caused by family breakdown. It is well known that the lack of intact families, especially among minorities, is the primary cause of lawlessness, poor academic achievement and unremitting poverty.

These NFL players are contributing to the problem not only by bringing yet more “fatherless” children into the world, but by establishing to others that it’s not such a big deal. Yet the NFL resolutely ignores this particular problem.

The league is in a unique position to do something constructive about destructive sexual behavior. They alone have something players want. For the league and for the players, no matter how much money and glory they may win, what really matters is how they impact the lives of those around them.

Tom Patterson

Editor’s note: Mr. Patterson writes a blog on the Independent’s website at

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