A decade later and Howard comes off as something far from that. The child abuse investigation underway in Georgia is another case of him being in the news for the wrong reasons.
It starts with Howard impregnating Royce Reed, a former Orlando Magic cheerleader who was featured on VH1’s mind-numbing Basketball Wives. That tells you all you need to know about her—if you’ve ever seen the show, you know what I mean.
Anyway, it has been reported that Howard has six children. He is not married. Thrown on top of these charges that were reopened in Georgia, and it’s not a good look—or an expected one from a young man who was raised in a strong family environment, attended a small Christian school and whose uncle is the Atlanta district attorney, Fulton County DA Paul Howard Jr.
Of course, his lawyers are saying Reed is a skeezer seeking to extort money and/or hurt Howard, with whom she had an ugly child support and custody battle. But this case involving a six-year-old son from this summer was dropped by police for lack of evidence after the Florida Department of Children and Families investigated the matter. Purported new evidence sparked Atlanta-area police to re-open the case.
Howard admitted to “beating” his child and told Florida police that he was disciplined in such a manner growing up and didn’t realize it was wrong. Sound familiar? Yep, Adrian Peterson said virtually the same thing. Now the Minnesota Vikings’ superstar running back is suspended for the reminder of the season. The NBA says it is aware of the Howard investigation and is monitoring it.
There has been no evidence of photos or marks or bruises left on Howard’s son, as in Peterson’s case. The marks are all left on Howard.
He’s left to defend himself because he has not protected himself from the seedy side of NBA life. Of course, he refused comment this morning on the matter, leaving a lawyer to give the predictable attorney-speak: “Royce Reed is now shopping her baseless allegations to authorities in Georgia after the Florida DCF case was closed. Even though the allegations have already been found to have no merit, when a complaint about the welfare of a child is made to law enforcement, an investigation is commenced. We are confident the Georgia authorities will reach the same conclusion as the Florida authorities. The truth is on our side.
“It is appalling to see a mother use her son as a pawn against his father in attempt to extract money, which is what is happening in this case. While Royce Reed continues on her aimless quest with the media, Dwight Howard will continue to act in the best interest of his children and do whatever is necessary to protect them.”
He also needs to protect himself from himself. Considered a fun-loving guy by those close to him, he’s also shown himself to be weak. He went behind Stan Van Gundy when he was in Orlando to get him fired, then lied about doing so. He was insultingly indecisive on if he’d become a free agent or stay with the Magic. When he finally decided to leave, he landed in Los Angeles with the Lakers and bolted after one season because Kobe Bryant, essentially, was not nice to him and demanded excellence. Really?
This legal fiasco highlights just how far Howard has faded from the smiling high-school kid his classmates adored and who vowed to bring Christianity into the NBA. That was not going to happen, even if Howard turned out to be the man most expected him to be. But it’s surprising he is not.