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Randy Starks: Full-time dad earns his living on the gridiron

caines | 6/13/2013, 6:42 a.m.

Father juggles Dolphins gig with raising son alone

Sports has been a significant part of Randy Starks, Jr.s life for as long as he can remember, being equally gifted in both football and basketball. But as Starks, 29, says, sports is simply what he does as his profession. Thats because the defensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins has accepted the responsibility for a much more important job that of single father to seven-year-old Randolph Starks, III, affectionately known as Trey. Sometimes I worry whether Im being too strict but because a child needs mother and father love 24-7, I try to give my son tough love while also being sensitive to his needs, he said. The key for any parent is to be actively involved and to have a positive impact on their life. And then I want him to understand that good things come when you work towards success. Starks serves as the primary caregiver for his son a role that society tends to attribute solely to women. But according to the 2000 U.S. Census, the number of single-father households rose 62 percent in 10 years. In 2.2 million households, fathers raise their children without a mother equivalent to about one-in-45 households.

Single dads need help too

Starks has been raising his son on his own since Trey was two but he was assisted by his mother who served as her grandsons nanny during the football season. But that all changed following his mothers death last December. Its a big responsibility and Im doing the best I can, Starks said. Luckily, I have a few women in my life that help they think of things and ask questions that I probably wouldnt ask. I dont think what Im doing is so unique. Its just that dads, especially Black fathers, dont get a fair read. But then, I dont really care about that. Im more concerned about helping my son learn how to take care of himself so that he wont have to rely on anyone but himself. He already gets up every morning at 6 a.m., dresses himself, is ready for the school bus and always does his homework. Watching him grow and seeing his personality develop is one of my greatest joys. I want to make sure he doesnt become another statistic my job is keep him away from things that would have him end up hurt or in jail. Does Starks wish he didnt have to raise his son alone? I dont have time to think much about that, he said. I just love spending time with him and I realize that time is one thing that you cant get back. Its too bad more parents dont understand that. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com