On Single Moms, Bobby Bowden is Buggin’

It’s open season on single mothers, and the masculinity and resilience of the men raised by them. Like former NBA coach George Karl in his most recent diatribe, former Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden decided to give Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg of ESPN’s Mike & Mike his opinion on the sociology of his former players and their parents.

Bowden was on the show to promote a new book,The Bowden Dynasty: A Story of Faith, Family & Football, An Insider’s Account, and it seems like, as it has been throughout American history, Bowden is scapegoating and disrespecting those he once mentored to sell books.

Here’s where he’s literally biting some of the hands that fed him.

“My last years at Florida State, 65 or 70% of my boys did not have a daddy at home,” he said. “They were raised by mommas, sweet ol’ mommas. Thank god for them mommas. Or grandmomma. Many times it was grandmomma, or big sister, or aunt. But where’s the man? A boy needs a male figure. And the girls do too. Somebody to discipline them and make them be a man. I used to kid about this, you know, they grow and wanna be like their momma. That’s the way they were raised. That’s why they wear earrings.”

Men of ancient Persia, Turkish nomads and men of ancient Egypt wore earrings. Michael Jordan sports earrings and Mr. T too. So, Michael Jordan and Mr. T are trying to be like their Mommas?

So, in addition to it being some border line racist stuff, there was also a hint of homophobia. Congratulations Mr. Bowden!

Imagine if all the players raised by single mothers decided not to go to Florida State?  Bowden would be an afterthought.

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Mike Golic laughed at him, but I’m hoping it was more so out of respect for an elder statesmen than out of agreement. I like Golic, but it wouldn’t be the first time a sports media personality disappointed me.  Not by a long shot.  Even though Bowden said he was kidding about men growing up wanting to be like their mothers, I watched the video multiple times, looking for some semblance of humor or jest in his tone, but none was apparent.

Bobby Bowden and George Karl are ignorantly regurgitating data that has been proven to be inaccurate, or at least greatly skewed, in order to sell books.

That is total b.s.

I’d be remiss in not mentioning how CNN correspondent Don Lemon had an entire segment in which he mentioned the pitfalls of single parenting in the Black community back in 2013.  The narrative itself is about 40 years old.  In 1950, 71 percent of Black men and 81 percent of Black women were married.  Because of that black children were more likely to be raised in dual parent households.

What happened?  Well, honestly, there’s just not enough space here to tell the tale. Institutional, social, geographic and economic circumstances caused the script to flip over the last 66 years or so.  But I don’t expect most people to know that. Least of all narrow minded people like Bowden and Karl.

According a five-year-old study by Pew Research Center, 7-10 Americans believe single mothers are bad parents. So, on that one, Bowden and Karl are in the majority.  However, a lie believed by the majority doesn’t automatically become the truth because it is believed. It’s just an accepted lie.

Back in 2011, WeTV published an article by Carrie Seim titled “Why You Should Marry Men Raised By Single Moms” and, I gotta tell ya, I feel like he hit the nail on the head. The five reasons give were; They Respect Women, They’re Neat and Tidy, They’re Good Communicators, They Don’t Whine, They Can Fix Things, They’re Responsible.

While neither Karl or Bowden are looking to marry one of the players, any coach should be able to appreciate such qualities. But that’s just one person’s perspective.

In a 2012 a New York Times article written by Katie Roiphe titled In Defense of Single Moms, Roiphe cites Princeton University sociology professor Sara S. McLanahan’s study regarding single parent households. McLanahan states that the primary reasons for the troubles that face these households are poverty and instability. But there is no evidence that says, free of the aforementioned ills, children raised in single parent households are worse off than those raised in two-parent households.

The professor also found that financially stable two-parent homes where stress and conflict are prevalent are far more destructive to children than a single parent home free of those issues. Additionally, as stated by Roiphe, the reality is that family dynamics change all the time. People break up, have live-in spouses they aren’t married to, people break up and find someone else, then find yet another when that relationship doesn’t go as planned. Life is way more complicated than cold data, prejudiced assumptions, and those who use them to support antiquated theories, would lead us to believe.  

Also, just because the other parent isn’t living in the same household as their child doesn’t mean they’re not involved in the kid’s life.

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So, Mr. Bowden and Mr. Karl, you’ve both used the children of single parents to elevate yourselves and now you’re both trying to get a fat check out of that, huh?  That’s shady and scratching the surface of being racist, and even someone raised by a single mother can see that.  Someone like me.  As long as there’s love, stability and resources, single parents are just as good at raising children as a couple. 

We’ve all heard those studies that state how children raised in single parent homes are more likely to do drugs, right? Well, a 2009 story published in Psychology Today revealed something interesting. 

In the results of a national substance abuse survey, based on 22,000 adolescents, there was indeed more drug abuse among the children of single mothers than among the children of two biological parents. But it has largely been overstated.  5.7%  of children raised in single parent households abuse drugs.  That’s only a percentage point higher than the 4.5% of children from two parent households that did drugs. 

Also, that same study showed that kids living with a biological father and a stepmother were worse off than kids raised by their biological mother.

There are even studies to suggest that children growing up in single parent households are more likely to take responsibility, to handle disappointment, more likely to be resilient, and more likely to be self-reliable. So, we can go back and forth all day in a single parent versus two parents stat war.  But that’s not the point of this article.  

The point is to point out the vapid reasoning and blatant disrespect that two dudes who as coaches I’m certain discussed loyalty and teamwork with their players, yet show none of those qualities to their former mentees in their rush for publishing gold.

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