“Floyd cares for his children.”
This is what someone said to me on social media as a partial defense for the otherwise questionable behavior of Floyd Mayweather outside of the boxing ring. It was an interesting point to make. Inarguably, Floyd’s children will never lack for food, shelter, or clothing. I would never say that Floyd does not love his children or show them affection. I assume he does. But are those things alone enough to say that Floyd truly “cares” for his children?
I’m not so sure.
Years ago, I watched an HBO special on Floyd that showed him operating at a 10 on the “Money” scale. Arrogant, pompous, and flaunting, Floyd walked around his children carrying wads of cash as if he were transporting junk mail from the mail box to the catch-all table that resides in every home. He began to carry on about his gambling victory that evening telling his children “A.I. (Allen Iverson) gets you paid.”
Let’s face it, Floyd may be a great boxer—and he most certainly is—but it’s hard to defend him as a person or a parent. Not to get all old fashioned or anything, but you would think a responsible father would want his children to understand the value of a dollar and the potential woes of gambling. That’s not how Floyd operates. I suppose in a way, you could say he’s just being himself, and therefore, “honest.” I suppose on one level that is true. I do question what this sort of behavior does to his kids though. Who knows? Maybe they’ll turn out just fine. Or perhaps at worst they will simply end up with reality shows, a la the Kardashians.
Of course, Floyd’s disregard for the value of income based teaching moments pales in comparison to his treatment of women. There are five different women who have accused Floyd of battering them. He has been charged five separate times with battery. Four of those occasions involved women. That’s bad enough, but wait, it gets worse.
Josie Harris is the mother of three of Floyd’s four children. In 2011, Harris accused Floyd of beating her and trying to break her arm. Eventually, Floyd pleaded guilty to domestic battery in a deal that allowed him to avoid felony charges. He ended up serving 60 days of a 90 day jail sentence in 2012.
That sounds horrible enough on its own, but there’s more. Floyd committed these acts in front of their shared children. It was their nine-year-old son, Zion, who told police, “He was punching her and kicking her. He was punching her in the head and he was stomping on her shoulder.” His ten-year-old brother, Koraun, reported to police that he ran from the house in an effort to find help.
I have never been a parent. I have however been in plain view of this sort of parenting. When I was four years old, my mother entered into her second marriage with a man named Mike. As it turned out, Mike was an angry drunk. His idea of parenting was to shout at and insult me. Sometimes he did far worse. Drop your fork at dinner, take a beating. Spill some soup on the floor, take a beating. Playfully jump on Mike’s back, take a beating. It went like that for nine years.
I wish I could say that was the worst of it. I remember far too many nights of a hand making contact with my mother’s head. And the screaming. All the screaming. The most perilous occasion occurred when he threw my mother down our unusually long staircase. How she did not break her neck, I will never know.
Eventually, my mother found the strength to leave Mike. I know her concern for my well being played a large part in this. As I got older, she feared I would outgrow my diminutive stepfather and challenge him. There were guns in the house, so that probably would not have been a good idea.
Why did my mother stay with him so long? There are essays and studies that go into all the reasons battered women stay with the men who strike them. Lack of self-confidence, fear, and financial security are just three of the common factors that keep women from leaving. It’s that third one I would like to point out here in this space.
When we lived with Mike, we never wanted for anything. Sure, we didn’t have access to the sort of opulence that Floyd Mayweather surrounds himself with, but I never went hungry, I always had new school clothes, and I never had to concern myself about the roof over my head. I did however often worry about what might go on under that roof.
I did not feel cared for by Mike. I felt provided for. I can’t tell you how Floyd’s children feel. Maybe I’m wrong about all of this. I do know that beating the mother of your children in front of those same kids is not caring for them. No matter how many meals, outfits, or homes his wealth provides.