- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tom Brady is no longer the pinup prince of perfection, as if he ever was.

That merely was an image concocted by an all-too-simpleton media marketplace that is forever befuddled by the shades of gray in humanity.

In case you missed it — or have been preoccupied with the shaved pate of Britney Spears — Brady is scheduled to join the ever-burgeoning club of unwed parents in America following the news that Bridget Moynahan, his ex-girlfriend, is pregnant.

Brady accepted the release of the news with Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen in tow on a culturally enlightened stretch of asphalt in Paris, as captured in photographs splashed on the Internet.

Brady’s handlers will be quick to let everyone know that the quarterback of the Patriots plans to do the right thing, which means provide Moynahan and the newborn with a proper standard of living.

That does not mean marrying the woman, either by shotgun or out of responsibility, quaint notions both.

We are so much more evolved than that, so long as we don’t consider the well-being of the child.

Out-of-wedlock births rose to 37 percent in the United States in 2005, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. That is a five-decade-old trend, dating to 1960, when the out-of-wedlock birth rate was 5.3 percent in the United States.

We owe part of this to the free love generation of the ‘60s, or at least to the women who gave it up for free as an act of liberation. Men always have believed in free love.

Professional athletes are no different from the rest of us, just considerably wealthier, which eliminates the free from the love, if there is an unplanned pregnancy.

Perhaps, as some feminists suggest, men are an unnecessary part of parenthood, other than their sperm donor dimension.

If so, Brady has met his obligation. His fatherhood by cell phone in the future certainly will pass society’s low standard of engaged parent.

Otherwise, Brady’s actions are hardly scandalous in the age of Maury Povich’s paternity tests.

Real, live people actually appear on Povich’s show to get to the bottom of their indiscriminate activities, all apparently incapable of shame.

Of course, the latter would be hard on their self-esteem, and no one in America today wants that.

Out-of-wedlock births are a staple of professional sports, virtually an initiating rite, like the first tattoo displaying a Chinese take-out order.

Shawn Kemp, the would-be father of our country, was made the face of this unpleasant phenomenon in a Sports Illustrated cover story in 1998, what with his seven children by six women.

Kemp resorted to food and brain-numbing substances to ease the stress of being America’s fertility god.

It is said he has come to his financial senses, although apparently too late to revive an NBA career that has been dormant since the 2003 season.

Moynahan’s decision to reveal the wonderful news was motivated by Brady’s rush to take up with Bundchen so soon after their breakup, say the gossip mavens of www.Idontlikeyouinthatway.com.

That certainly passes the plausibility test, given Moynahan’s circumstances.

She is pregnant, newly single and her ex-boyfriend is tromping around Paris with a supermodel on his arm.

That possibly would strike the nerve of most women, progressive or not.

The supermodel is the ex-squeeze of Leonardo DiCaprio, who was once linked to Demi Moore, who was once married to Bruce Willis before taking up with Ashton Kutcher, which just goes to show you what a small world it is.

Alas, Brady will not be able to resort to the old verbal cure-all of professional athletes, which is: “That’s behind us.”

The pregnancy revelation is just the beginning of a long and possibly contentious situation.

At least Brady can find solace in being part of an ever-growing fraternity of cell phone daddies.

These doting fathers are a mere 10-digit number away from being actively engaged in the parenting of their children.

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