He’s a powerful, famous, rich athlete. She’s his ex-fiancee, who apparently broke his heart, potentially interrupting his training for an upcoming bout. At least that’s the story told by the sports news world when discussing the relationship of boxer Floyd Mayweather and his ex, which the prizefighter claims ended when he lied to her about miscarrying, actually procuring an abortion instead.
That version of the events comes straight from a world that is obsessed with its public figures and revered athletes and is incapable of seeing potential faults like domestic violence, intimidation and manipulation, and physical or emotional abuse. It comes from a media that can interview an athlete extensively about game day preparation, yet ignore jail time for domestic assault, such as the sentence Mayweather himself served for one of a number of instances of domestic violence he was accused of committing.
“This kind of coverage makes me so angry because most people probably didn’t even think twice about the reason Mayweather went to jail because the way most sports media works, we are supposed to see athletes as the protagonists in their own story,” writes Jessica Luther, who specializes in tracking abuse and assault in the sports world, regarding Mayweather’s domestic violence past. “It isn’t about what Mayweather did but what was done to him.”
What was done to him, in this recent case, was allegedly a refusal by his ex to bear him children when she got pregnant. Mayweather callously disregarded her personal and medical privacy, posting an ultrasound of two 6 week old embryos and claiming that she aborted them against his wishes. “The real reason me and Shantel Christine Jackson @missjackson broke up was because she got a abortion, and I’m totally against killing babies. She killed our twin babies,” he wrote, although later he removed the picture and comment.
Damage, obviously, was already done. Besides making her private decisions public, he essentially called her a murderer, as well as inferred that she may have had the abortion because she was pregnant by someone else. In fact, there is little more that Mayweather could have done to attack the woman online, setting publicity off after her as well as his own fans.
That Mayweather, who already had a history of violence against him, is somehow seen as the victim when he purposefully set into action this systematic emotional abuse is baffling. In fact, anti-abortion groups are hailing him as a hero and using him as a symbol of how “harmed” men can be if they can’t stop women from having abortions. “How horribly ironic that one of the greatest Professional Boxers in the world is powerless after Roe V Wade to defend the life of his unborn children,” writes Priests for Life’s Kevin Burke, who then hopes that he will come for “healing” with their post-abortive counseling group.
With a history of abuse towards women, the idea that his fiance may have chosen not to continue a pregnancy with him, and potentially told him that she miscarried in order to hide the truth, as Mayweather claims, isn’t too surprising. While some may feel unable to leave a relationship with someone who is physically or emotionally abusing them, the thought of raising children in that dynamic may be terrifying enough to make them seek out an abortion, not wanting her child to be a part of that relationship or fearing it may tie them together forever.
This idea of being owed control of children, and using them to control or punish the mother, isn’t Mayweather’s alone. We saw the same sort of emotional manipulation and using of potential life in the Bode Miller case, where he accused his ex of stealing his baby in the womb when she left the state to seek better educational opportunities and a better future for herself and her unborn child.
Mayweather is no victim for outing an ex’s abortion, and the media and anti-abortion activists are wrong to treat him as such. When someone exposes a partner’s personal medical decisions, using that as a means to rally the public against her and punish her for her choices, that is emotional abuse, and it needs to be called what it really is.
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