The ship both are sailing on is the Love Boat. Federer announced happily on his Web site Thursday that he is about to become a father. Parker is pictured on the cover of ESPN the Magazine scheduled for release on Friday in full bloom – pregnant.
Federer is not married. Parker is -- now.
But Parker wasn't hitched to her basketball-playing boyfriend, Shelden Williams, until last November, when the pair made news by eloping. A month later, Parker announced she was with child. The baby is due in May, which means Parker was about three months pregnant when she and Williams ran away to get hitched.
The initial news of Parker's blessing wasn't warmly embraced by all, including, oddly enough, by Parker's female boss, L.A. Sparks' owner Kathy Goodman.
"My first reaction," Goodman told the Los Angeles Times, sounding like Phyllis Schlafly, "was to just shake my head. We're inured to this by now so I guess I thought, 'Oh, yeah, she's having a baby. Yeah, of course.' "
Goodman was recalling her disappointment years earlier when the first star of the Sparks, Lisa Leslie, announced her pregnancy during the offseason and missed the regular campaign.
Some other crickets, however, chirped their disappointment in Parker more specifically -- she got pregnant out of wedlock, at just 22 years old and selfishly knowing full well that her team, if not the WNBA, needed her, last year's Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.
And you thought those fifties' family sitcoms, where men ruled and women knew their place, were relics of the past.
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Federer, in the immediate wake of his good fortune with girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec, is being celebrated and congratulated for being at the threshold of parenthood. "Federer to be a dad," most headlines heralded Thursday.
It wasn't unlike the reaction to the news that the Donny Osmond of the NFL, Tom Brady, was about to become a father with a former girlfriend after having found a new one. Or the blowback to the news late last year that Lance Armstrong, who has one son and twins with his ex-wife Kristin Richards, was about to become a father again with his latest squeeze, girlfriend Anna Hansen, who Armstrong found working at his charity.
Parker hasn't been so lucky. Only guys can have all this fun.
Los Angeles Times' columnist Diane Pucin reported Thursday:I wonder if a guy who, like Parker, in one year led his alma mater to a second consecutive national title, was national player of the year, an Academic All-America, the first pick of the pro draft, the rookie of the year and league MVP in the pros -- and, oh yeah, helped his team win an Olympic gold medal --- would have trouble getting on the cover of a national sports magazine? Would he have to be pregnant too? (Of course, that would be a story!)
Gary Belsky, [ESPN the Magazine] editor in chief, said the [Parker cover] story had been planned and photos shot just before Parker's pregnancy became public -- or noticeable.
"We don't do a lot of female athletes on the cover," Belsky said. "Candace has made it more interesting. She's got Adidas, McDonald's and Gatorade as sponsors; that's a pretty strong big three. But it's still tough to put a woman on the cover for us."
Pucin's story continued with Belsky:
"But ESPN is participating in women's sports month in March, so we thought this would be a good way. But when we found out she was pregnant we had to call and say, 'We can't run these pictures in March.' "So ESPN the Magazine emblazoned a smiling Parker on its cover in a white dress cradling her tummy like a basketball next to this headline: "How Big Can Candace Parker Get?"
So photo editor Catriona Ni Aolain reconceived the photo and spoke to Parker. "She was a little nervous," Ni Aolain said. "She wanted to know we wouldn't make fun of her in any way."
How crass are we still?
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Dom Furore, Woods Family
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