Kids usually do best with both parents around--especially if the parents are famous

At the risk of alienating readers, I must make yet another sports reference, although the reference is only peripherally sports-related, and I'm using it merely as an entrée to a larger and, one hopes, much more important issue. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, he of the three Super Bowl rings and the matinee-idol good looks, knocked up his Class D-actress girlfriend, Bridget Moynahan, apparently just before he split on her and took up with a supermodel.

I'm not going to get overly moralistic here. If he wants to nail any number of vapid fembots ... well, it probably goes against his Catholic upbringing, but these days, so does the church. As long as he's not forcing himself on these women, and he's not R. Kelly-ing a 14-year-old, it's really none of my business.

My problem--and it really, really should be a problem for us all--is the nonchalance with which this new life is being viewed.

The headline of the tabloid-ish Boston Herald read, "Quarterback sneak? Bridget's pregnant, and Tom's pals say he'll do the right thing (he just won't marry her!)"

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote, "But this is not the scandal it would have been 50 years ago. Brady's life is not over. A child born out of wedlock is no longer received with humiliation and shame."

Well, neither should it be; it's not the child's fault. But there should be plenty of shame to go around for the high-flying sex participants (no freakin' way I'm going to use the term "parents" on these two).

First of all, how does somebody just get pregnant these days? These aren't teenagers on the 8,000th episode of "Who My Baby Daddy?" on The Maury Show. These are people who have chronologically been adults for a good long time. There's a pretty good chance that neither was the other's first sex partner. No matter what she was doing (or not doing), doesn't a quarterback's performance depend on good protection?

The trashier tabloids are speculating that Moynahan "got pregnant on purpose" as a desperate ploy to keep him from leaving her. Well, unless she's some kind of sea sponge, she can't get pregnant on her own. He had to have been an active participant, and if he was even thinking about leaving her, he should have worn two condoms.

Shaughnessy continues, "If you gathered present and former professional athletes who have fathered children with women they didn't marry, you could fill a fair-sized college gymnasium." So you're saying that the sheer number of these acts of extreme selfishness has worn down society's shock response? They're athletes/actors/musicians, so they get a pass? And what about the kids?

Then, finally, "And this Brady-Moynahan baby could be better-looking than Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt." Pardon my departure from the subject at hand, but have you ever noticed that when two really good-looking people have a kid, that kid is often not so good looking? I'm not sure why that is; maybe it's nature's way of telling us that chromosomes can max out, and the only way to go is down. I used that argument to convince my wife that even if the dad looks like Jack Elam, her beauty-queen genes would win out. My kids are way better looking than they would have been if the genetic soup were a true 50-50 mix.

Shortly after I heard about Brady, I read an interview of Nelly Furtado. She had a hit song a few years back called "I'm Like a Bird." Nowadays, she's hooked up professionally with Timbaland, and she's gone hip-hop. She's all over MTV with songs like "I'm a Tramp" and "I'll Show Lots of Skin and Degrade Myself in All Kinds of Ways in an Attempt to Resurrect My Career." She even played a shoplifter on an episode of CSI:NY. She would have retained more dignity had she simply shoplifted for real.

In the interview, Furtado casually mentioned that she'd had a baby. When asked about the baby's father, she replied, "It doesn't matter. He's not in the picture. I'm all (my baby) needs."

Well, you know what? You're not. I don't care if your hip-hop move makes you bigger than Lil' Kim. (No, wait, she went to prison.) I don't care if you end up with more money than Britney Spears, although it probably wouldn't be all that hard to be a better mom than she is. This idea that money or fame or chutzpah can turn one parent into the equivalent of two is crap. And a celebrity who has been pampered and butt-kissed for years is even less likely to be centered enough to pull that off.

There are a whole lot of people out there who, through bad luck and/or bad choices, are raising kids on their own. It's a tough job, and most of them are doing their best. That's not what this is about.

This is about famous people thinking that their actions don't have long-term consequences. No matter how much money, how many trophies or how many weekend visits Brady might muster during the next 20 years, it won't make up for that kid not having a father there on a daily basis.

Kids need dads, and shame on you if you think otherwise.

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