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Ballers and the jilted
Dating an athlete isn't all it's cracked up to be
Published Thursday, September 20, 2012 8:03 am
by Michaela L. Duckett

Sure they have nice bodies and lots of money, but is dating an athlete as glamorous as it seems? These women say no.

Michaela L. Duckett

It’s Sunday afternoon. I’m Uptown at Champions with Keisha and Carmen watching the Panthers beat the Saints.
Carmen is going on and on about how fine Cam Newton is. She is convinced that he’s going to meet her, fall hopelessly in love and make her his wife.

“He’s fine and all,” says Keisha. “But I could never date another athlete.”

I guess you can say Keisha is a little bitter. She has a child with a football star. She and he grew up together, but didn’t start dating until college. She swears that the movie “Love & Basketball” was based on their lives, except her ex didn’t play basketball, and he didn’t marry her in the end.

“The problem with athletes is their egos,” she says. “They are humongous. I remember before Brian went pro, he was so attentive to me. He made time for me. He asked about my day. But after he got signed, he was so into himself. There was no room for me in the relationship. He even referred to himself in the third person from time to time.”

Then, she says he started getting paranoid and was always accusing her of being with him for his money.

“I’ve known this guy since he was a snotty-nosed kid living next door to me in the projects, but when he got a little change in his pocket, he started treating me like some hanger-on,” she says taking a sip of beer. “I was (upset).”

The relationship got even worse when Keisha got pregnant during Brian’s second year in the league. He accused her of trying to trap him and dumped her.
“He wanted me to have an abortion,” she says. “He said he didn’t have time for a family.”

Luckily, in the end he turned out to be an OK dad, but they never got back together. He ended up getting someone else pregnant and moving her into his mansion in Ballantyne.

Groupie love
I ask Keisha if she ever had to deal with groupies.

“Girl, yes,” she says. “That started in college. Our first year, we went to schools five hours apart from each other. I remember one night I called him and heard a girl’s voice in the background. He hung up really quick and wouldn’t answer when I called back. I kept calling, and I just kept getting his voice mail. Girl, I hopped in my little Pontiac Grand Am and drove all the way to his apartment. He wouldn’t answer the door. He just left me there knocking, crying and begging him to let me in.”

She recalls a few more incidents. One involved a high-speed chase after Keisha spotted another girl in Brian’s car. Another time she got into a fistfight at the mall with a stripper she overheard bragging about sleeping with Brian.

Soon Keisha began following the advice of comedian Chris Rock, who said the only thing a woman can do to keep her man from cheating is to always be there. Keisha made it her mission to just “be there.” Every game – home and away – she was there. Whenever Brian had an appearance at a charity event or a club, she was there.

“In the end, it just became too tiring,” she says. “I would never go through that again. You will never catch me dating an athlete. They are all dogs.”

“I don’t think they all are dogs,” says Carmen, the eternal optimist. “Just look at (the Panthers’) Thomas and Kelly Davis. They are such a cute couple, and he’s not a dog.”

A jilted beauty queen
My friend Sharon, a local fashion blogger, thinks any woman who dates an athlete and trusts him to be faithful is a fool.
“That’s what was so stupid about that Evelyn and Chad Johnson situation,” she says over coffee at Starbucks. “She knew exactly what she was signing up for. He’s an athlete. They all cheat.”

I meet a lawyer named Rhonda who once dated a guy who used to play for the New York Jets. She describes the relationship as “toxic and tumultuous,” but says she stayed because he bought her nice gifts and she didn’t want to be alone.

When Rhonda, a former Miss Black North Carolina, met Antonio, she was 25 and says she was earning a six-figure salary.

“I was living the life that most people my age could only dream of,” she says. “You would have thought looking at my situation that I had it all, but inside I was lonely.”

Rhonda says she was so desperate for love she ignored all of the warning signs Antonio was not the right man for her. Even though she was always hearing rumors about other women and constantly catching him in lies that didn’t add up, Rhonda stayed.

“I was at a low point,” she says. “I was lonely, like many black women are. I really didn’t value myself. So when he came along and offered these material items, I thought that meant he loved me and that my Prince Charming had arrived. That just wasn’t the case.”

I ask her what was the final straw that made her leave. She tells me there wasn’t one. She didn’t leave him. He left her.

She spent six months planning a lavish $200,000 wedding. Seven days before they were to walk down the aisle, Antonio called and said he couldn’t go through with it.

“There really wasn’t even an explanation,” she says. “He just said he couldn’t do it.”

At the time, Rhonda was pregnant with her first child. Antonio already had four children with four other women. Two months after the wedding was called off, Rhonda found out the reason he couldn’t do it.

“He had another woman pregnant.”

That’s a problem for wifey
“I would never get serious with an athlete,” says Alexis, a bartender at Onyx. “They come into the club all the time. They think they run the world.”

Alexis says she dates athletes casually, but would never fall in love with one.

“I let them take me out and spend money on me, but I know it’s temporary,” she says. “For me, it’s a plus. It’s like I get the best of both worlds. They are honest with me. We have fun. I don’t expect anything from them, and they don’t expect anything from me. We just get together and have a good time.”

Alexis says she leaves all the worrying, crying and lost sleep to the girlfriends and the wives.

“That’s their problem because they choose to put up with it,” she says. “While I’m getting the trips, the jewelry, the clothes, the cars and the truth, they are getting the lies, the lonely nights and the broken heart. Me, I’m good. Besides, it leaves me free to do me. Yeah, he may be using me for my body, but I’m using him too. In the end, we both get what we want, and everybody is happy. I just don’t take it too seriously.”

*Some names and details have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.



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