Olympic Athletes' Private Lives Prompts 'That Talk' With My Son
Here are some legal ramifications to consider in your talk.
There is a great commercial from a certain quilted bathroom tissue company that uses the slogan, “let’s get real about what happens in the bathroom.” Rather than using bathroom tissue to clean up kitchen messes or some random blue liquid that somehow always appears on the countertops of commercial stars, the company gets to the point and talks about what bathroom tissue is really used for.
The same realistic approach to reporting has been on the largest sports stations during the Olympics in London. Jim Rome, ESPN, and even local sports stations have gone beyond the athletic accomplishments of the athletes and discussed what happens during the “down” time in the Olympic Village. ESPN’s story is here. In short, it appears that the Olympics has speculated that the best athletes in the world on the biggest stage in the world need personal protection to the tune of 150,000 times in the aggregate. That is an average of one personal moment per day and twice at the closing ceremony for each athlete and a companion.
This staggering statistic made me pull my son aside and have “the talk” again. Of course I discussed the issues of diseases and infections. But I also had to discuss the “birds and the bees” that results in the “stork” making a visit about nine months later. The media has presented story after story about national athletic idols that are so quick to dismiss commonsense in family planning. What happens when there is no family planning? Here is the Legal Corner’s take on the legal ramifications.
First, there is no presumption that the “father” is the legal father when the parties are not married. The establishment of paternity is found in section 742.10, Florida Statutes. Of course when paternity is established, then the other co-parenting issues come into play such as time-sharing, parental responsibility, and child support.
I would be ignorant to suggest that when you have “the talk” with your young adult that you should quote statutes, recite law, and use terms such as “parental responsibility” or “time-sharing” to get your message across.
Rather, when I had the discussion with my young adult and after I discussed the health issues, I brought up the responsibilities a parent has regardless of whether the young adult wanted to be a parent or not. The parents’ responsibilities are not voluntarily. A parent is required by law to consider the best interest of the child. This necessarily means, at times, that the parent must put his or her own best interest aside.
From a child-support perspective, even if the other parent does not want child support, the State of Florida, by and through the Department of Revenue, will require child support and garnish wages, intercept tax-returns, or even place someone in jail for failure to pay.
As I look at my young, young adult, I see him idolizing star athletes such as Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, and Destinee Hooker (Hooker’s outside hitting approach and ability to hit off the block is amazing). I also know that he has heard the stories of the Olympic Village, unfortunately. I don’t want him to make a correlation between success and fornication. If religion, morality, common sense, and de-idolization does not work, try using the law to assist.
This is not a religious or morality column. All I am suggesting is that the issue of the birds and the bees has hit the international stage in our media because of the private moments in the Olympic Village. Young adults should know about the life-time legal responsibilities related to such free-spirited decisions along with the many other reasons to stay safe.
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