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Gabby Douglas, Well Timothy Douglas Was a Deadbeat Dad After All?

August 8, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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( The debate about Olympic Champion Gabby Douglas and her father Timothy continues.  A recent article in Newsone questions whether or not Douglas was there for his daughter or not, and there are other reports stating that Timothy Douglas was not the doting father that he appeared to be when showing up to cheer his daughter on at the Olympic Trials.

There’s a feeling that you can’t describe,” the elder Douglas told USA Today after the reunion. “I just missed her so much.

There’s an exuberance,” he continued. “Sometimes, when she had a rough time, I’d tell her to hang in there. ‘You know what it takes to be a winner, you know what your goals are. You just keep on your goals.’ Some things that I tell her I have to remind myself. Those are all things we can all abide by.”

The father’s portrayal of the relationship doesn’t match the one being reported by some media outlets who’ve quoted Gabby Douglas as saying a bit of the opposite.

It was really hard for us growing up—my dad had left us, so he wasn’t really in the picture anymore,” Gabby Douglas said to the New York Post.  “So my  mom had to front all these bills. My dad didn’t really pay the child support. He was short [on money]. It was definitely hard on her part, and she had to take care of me and the rest of my siblings.”

Clearly, these quotes imply that all was not well in the Douglas household.   It may have indeed been the case that Timothy Douglas was negligent in his responsibilities, and left his family to suffer and die.  At least that’s the story that media would like for us to believe about black men in general….we all hate our children.

But one thing I’ve learned as an 18-year veteran of the Child support system is that all is not what it appears to be when it comes to raising children.  Often, people misinterpret the father living someplace else to mean that he doesn’t care.  They might also interpret his financial struggles to mean that he doesn’t want to pay child support.  All the while, the legal system doesn’t question what the custodial parent (usually the mom) does with her own money or require her to come up with a monthly dollar amount to prove her love for her children.

While Gabby Douglas has become the defacto media authority on all of the subtle dynamics of her parents’ relationship, I would argue that it is quite possible that a 16-year old child might be a bit biased by her mother’s point of view.  Her parents were divorced when she was young, and her mother’s disappointment in a failed marriage may have led her to say things about Gabby Douglas’s dad that biased her opinion at an early age. While a father can do all that he can to give an alternative point of view, I can say from experience that it’s damn near impossible to get a child to see you in a manner that is different from the image that has been painted for her every single day of her life.

Perhaps I am wrong on this, but from what I understand, it’s not nearly as difficult to collect child support from members of the United States Airforce as it might be for regular citizens.  The parents are easy to find and wages can be garnished.  So, the claim that Gabby’s dad “didn’t want to pay child support” might be countered by the possibility that her father (similar to her mom) had financial challenges that made it difficult for him to pay child support every month.  If it’s not a crime for Gabby Douglas’s mom to declare bankruptcy (as she did), then it’s not a crime for her father to struggle financially.

I am not here to say that Timothy Douglas was a model father or perfect citizen.  I am here to say that in most failed relationships, there are two parties that both make decisions.  The tired narrative of every black man abandoning his kids like an animal in the woods doesn’t apply to most of us, for we are every bit as capable of loving our children as anyone else.  Also, every mother who keeps her kids in the household is not an automatic superhero.  Some are just as flawed as the men with whom they chose to procreate – that’s why they chose to sleep with these men in the first place.

Perhaps instead of believing what we are told to believe, we should think about things logically.  Gabby Douglas is a kid with a biased perspective who (like most of us) knows very little about the inner workings of her parents’ relationship.  Gabby Douglas only knows that her dad wasn’t in the household and that her family struggled financially.  She probably didn’t see the checks that were coming to her mother to pay living expenses for the home, and she doesn’t know who caused the divorce that ripped her family apart.  All Gabby Douglas knows is that it was tough growing up because things didn’t work out with her parents and that the judge gave custody to her mom. That hardly, in any state of the world, proves that Timothy Douglas never loved his child.  After all, he did fly 10,000 miles to see her.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. For more information, please visit


17 Responses to “Gabby Douglas, Well Timothy Douglas Was a Deadbeat Dad After All?”
  1. Char says:

    Thy Black Man.Com, talking about bias……whew. My daughter was married to a Marine and he never paid child support and I know this for a fact. She lived with me and I had to take care of my two grand children. This man was a dead beat dad, not every mother wants to take the time to keep going back and forth to court fighting for child support. He was not overseas from the time she was 9 years old until 16 years old. He was in the National Guard. He did not travel to London, his mother and some other members of his family.

    Gabby loves her dad but she is telling the truth and at 16 years old she can speak for herself. In his response to the media he hasn’t denied that he didn’t paid child support. He could had paid something but refused too. He could had sent $25 and there is no mention by him of his other two kids, just Gabby the Gold Medal winner. He has a son, never mention his son or that he had spent time with his son or his other daughter, the focus is only on the Gold Medal Winner. Actually you men all seem like you are helping your brother with excuses on why he was not there for his kids, (the media is always trying to put a “Brother down”, but with Brother Douglas, he put himself down and when he neglected his duties in being a caring father instead of finding excuses on why he wasn’t there for all of his children because there is no excuse for not being, a father.

  2. Amy says:

    As a former Air Force Staff Sergeant, I can assure you the Air Force is garnishing child support from her father’s paycheck. When I first heard that Douglas claimed her father didn’t pay child support the first thing I thought was: That’s impossible! Those payments are going straight to the mother’s bank account from the Department of Defense.

  3. ray allen says:

    I’ll take bets that Timothy Douglas paid more child support than he is being given credit for.

    A dirty secret about child support that I discovered while talking to a state legislator is that many states (including mine) measure child support compliance by the gross amount of child support collected so that the state can increase the federal reimbursements they receive under the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act, which gives states a financial incentive to use child support ‘guidelines’ that result in the maximum child support award possible.

    This has reinforced my belief that it isn’t about the kids – it’s about power, control, greed, and profit for the state.

    On that note, it’s time to resume writing my legislators to try to change the law so that child support becomes a shared responsibility, and to get the state to measure child support compliance by determining the percentage of non-custodial parents with the means to pay child support that are sharing the responsibility for providing for their children’s needs…

  4. natalie says:

    With all due respect Minnie….

    “How many miles did he fly before the olympics to see her? ”

    How is it that you ask a question suggesting that you have limited knowledge of the details related to the the situation, but then respond with..

    “It’s amazing what a shot at a gold medal will make a person do”

  5. Minnie says:

    To me it doesn’t matter that he flew 10,000 miles to see his daughter. How many miles did he fly before the olympics to see her? It’s amazing what a shot at a gold medal will make a person do.

  6. Billy says:

    They’re the best. Fab 5!!!

  7. James says:

    Bruce Eden, you have a lot of knowledge on this issue. I hope that you will write a book about it.

  8. Thomas Brown says:

    Sir, this was truly a great article. I have often though there was only one side being portrayed in the media about fathers and child support. So glad you had the courage to write this critic.

  9. natalie says:

    Great post orville and bruce! Mr eden your org does wonderful work!! Keep fighting the good fight and challenging misinformatiin about dads!

  10. There are a lot of fathers out there who’ve lost their jobs thanks to our government usurping the banking and mortgage businesses, and now the car businesses. Government, with its lapdog press, like to pick on groups of people to create animosity and divisiveness. It’s time to show the government for the real “deadbeat” that it is.

    According to a 7-year study done by Arizona State University Professor Sanford Braver, Ph.D., which resulted in his book, “Divorced Dads–Shattering the Myths”, he found that less than 5% of those that owed child support are true deadbeat dads-the ones with the younger trophy wives and sports cars, who don’t want to pay anything. The truth of the matter, is that according to the Federal Gov’t. General Accounting Office, Report # GAO/HRD-92-39FS, pg. 19, over 66% of those owing child support can’t pay because they are unemployed, underemployed, disabled, dead, and in some cases the mothers don’t want support.

    Judges order such onerous child support amounts in some cases, along with alimony, daycare, medical expenses, and other expenses, that the father can’t survive. He ends up becoming despondent, leaves his job and drops out of sight. He loses all contact with his child(ren) as a result. This is the government’s ultimate goal. Breaking up of father-headed families (and then mother-headed ones when there are no more fathers, wherein, the government will come for the children without any resistance). Government doesn’t do anything for altruism. They always have a motive behind what they do and the laws they make. It’s all about money, power and control.

    The reason for this: Because judges are granting high orders and enforcing them stringently because the Federal government pays the states a federal reimbursement incentive funding (42 USC Section 658a) for amounts awarded, collected and enforced. This money goes into the state coffers, no strings attached (42 USC Section 658f). The first things paid out of state treasuries are judicial salaries and pensions and state employee salaries and pensions.

    This is a major unconstitutional conflict-of-interest that has been outlawed by the US Supreme Court in Tumey v. Ohio, Ward v. Monroeville, Gibson v. Berryhill and other cases. The Supreme Court held that judges and officials (i.e., child support probation officials) who sit in judgment of cases that they have a financial interest in, are too tempted to abuse their contempt powers to jail unsuspecting litigants-taxpayers to extort/extract more and more monies out of them to increase the amount of funding, and ultimately increase their salaries and pensions.

    Anyone arrested on one of these orders is being arrested for not only a fraudulent order, but on a CIVIL matter. The U.S. Courts of Appeals (2nd highest courts in the land) as well as the US Supreme Ct. hold that one can’t be arrested on a CIVIL matter because there is no 4th Amendment probable cause that a crime has been committed to issue an arrest warrant. These Courts of Appeals held that child support is nothing more than a common civil, commercial debt, and that it is NOT any “special kind of debt”. Again, another fraud perpetrated by government officials. Every other Circuit has followed suit and hold that child support is a common commercial, civil debt.

    Child support & enforcement, along with no-fault divorce is derived from Soviet Family Law, Article 81. The USSR in the 40s and 50s implemented child support enforcement & allowed no-fault divorce. When it saw that it was destroying society and that men refused to work because they had to give up 1/2 their pay for child support, they tried to stop child support & easy divorces. However, it was too late. We know the rest of the story. Now, history is repeating itself in the USA. Radical women’s groups (N.O.W. & others) and the womens’ bar associations have adopted Soviet-styled child support enforcement, no-fault divorce & domestic violence programs. These are utter failures being used to implement power and control over families for the destruction of families.

    Further, Judges, as public officials, took an Oath of Office to uphold, support & defend the US Constitution. With that oath they acknowledge and recognized We the People’s fundamentally secured constitutional rights, privileges and immunities, as a condition for the public officials’ employment. Given that judges, law enforcement and even politicians have embraced this Soviet-style domestic relations ideology, this violates their Oaths of Office which constitutes felony Official Misconduct–an impeachable offense (not to mention it is treasonous & seditious to the US Constitution). Any judge making order, sitting on cases and enforcing child support must be disqualified for conflict of interest and Official Misconduct, especially if they arrest and jail someone for child support.

    Along with the federal Violence Against Women Act domestic violence laws, federal child abuse prevention act, and the federal child support laws, the child support industry is a total fraud. It is a $10 BILLION per year INDUSTRY that, if eliminated, the monies saved and sent to the children that supposedly need it, would wipe out all child support arrears in the US at one time. All that would be needed to do is send the BILLIONS in the form of a Social Security check or wire transfer, since child support enforcement laws are part of the entire Social Security Act. Remember that when accusing someone of being a “deadbeat dad”–it’s actually “deadbeat government”.

  11. Orville says:

    I also live in Canada and the Canadian media are more positive about the Gabrielle Douglas story. I was disgusted reading the articles saying that Mr. Douglas was a bad father. I think there are three sides to every story. I also think that Gabby Douglas mother is not telling the whole story. Gabby’s father wants to divorce the mother and move on with his life. Also, Timothy is in the military and they make sure the father pays child support. I am not so sure about Gabby’s mother something about her seems false and doesn’t ring true.

  12. James says:

    I hate how the mainstream portrays us. I live in Canada. This week, a TV commentator said: Douglas won only two Gold medals!!!! They can’t stand it when we win and they have to find ways to banalize our victories. They use her father’s shortcomings to attack her. They have no right. She is only 16, she doesn’t deserve that. Fuck them!!!

  13. sankofa says:

    This is a balanced view of something that only the three involved can talk about and even then perhaps not with one voice. It;s unfortunate that your views will often be a minority view in a Anti-African male hating world.

  14. ssmoore says:

    I think the press should leave Gabby’s hair alone. They need to leave her dad alone and stop asking her stupid questions. If he was not in her life it definitely did not stop her.
    Look at her mother. She is beautiful and bright. He did not stop her either.
    I do not see anyone looking for the white Olympians parents. Stop this!
    She is only 16!
    Gabby, no more interviews about Dad. Your real father is always God!

  15. scallywag says:

    So what are we to make of all this in the end? That media prejudice against black men still exists unmitigated (would a white man had received similar damning coverage?), that it’s always easiest to pander to prejudice and outrage? That black men really are low life and negligent rousers who only seek self gratification? That the media is full of low life editors who are all to happy to press buttons to sell papers? Or that life is often quite complex and one can never know what the truth of the situation is until one has to live the drama that these people have had to live. At least one thing is for sure, Gabby Douglas did win 2 gold medals and this she could never have done without hard work, commitment and talent, something that exists within oneself irrespective of who our parents may be.


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] And to put things in perspective young miss Douglass also received congratulations from several other celebrities including Justin Bieber, Oprah, Lady Gaga to name a few. Gabby has made it known that’s she’s a fan of Beyonce, and as is norm, after a celebrity is aware of a fans adulation sometimes send out a message to big up their fans.  This comes days after the Anti-African male bashing of her father, where speculation is rift about him being a “deadbeat dad”. Instead of taking up my reader’s time with that nonsense, I would prefer to link you to a thoughtful post over at […]

  2. […] thyblackman: Perhaps I am wrong on this, but from what I understand, it’s not nearly as difficult to collect child support from members of the United States Airforce as it might be for regular citizens.  The parents are easy to find and wages can be garnished.  So, the claim that Gabby’s dad “didn’t want to pay child support” might be countered by the possibility that her father (similar to her mom) had financial challenges that made it difficult for him to pay child support every month.  If it’s not a crime for Gabby Douglas’s mom to declare bankruptcy (as she did), then it’s not a crime for her father to struggle financially. […]

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