It should come as no surprise that many professional athletes get divorced. The August 9, 2009 New York Times article entitled “Taking Vows in a League Blindsided by Divorce” by Greg Bishop discusses this issue. See the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/sports/football/09marriage.html. Bishop notes that “inside the Jets’ locker room, James Dearth counts 20 married men among his teammates..suggest 12 to 16 of the married Jets will divorce.” He goes on to say “polls, studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that the divorce rate for N.F.L. players is between 60 and 80 percent, which is higher than that of the general population, where nearly half of marriages end in divorce, but comparable to athletes in other sports.” He goes on to quote Kris Jenkins, the nose tackle, who lists reasons that football marriages fail: “rampant infidelity, women who target athletes, trophy wives, lifestyles not conducive to marriage and players being surrounded by entourages, which can discourage intimacy.” The problem is further agrevated by problems associated with retirement. Bishop notes that “when athletes retire, most face an identity crisis. Many do not retire on their own terms, and once they leave the game, they also leave behind the fame and fortune, the crowds and adoration. Their wives experience a similar loss of status. The dynamic players they married can become passive and withdrawn.” What is to be done. The best answer seems to be counseling but the public must change the way we view professional athletes. We must see them more are real people but talented individuals who are not that special. Maybe we should consider paying them less and start treating them like normal people and not celebrities.
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