Texans running back Arian Foster—who fell out of the spotlight after he missed much of the team’s season with a back injury—managed to find himself in headlines yesterday anyway. According to KHOU, a twenty-year-old University of Houston undergrad named Brittany Norwood says Foster impregnated her when the two met in Houston during Texans’s training camp over the summer:
Norwood claims she didn’t know Foster was married with children when she had sex with him last summer. She said they were first intimate at Hotel ZaZa where Foster was staying during training camp.
Norwood said they also spent a week together in California in November while Foster was recovering from back surgery. Norwood sold photos of them together in California to TMZ.
A story about an athlete having an affair with a pretty blonde woman seven years his junior tends to fall under the “dog bites man” category of news, and the story would land under “none of our business,” but for one of the allegations that Norwood makes about Foster in the lawsuit that she filed seeking a restraining order against the athlete: Namely, that Foster and members of his family have been pressuring her to have an abortion.
Gossip blog TMZ, which broke the story, reports that:
In her lawsuit, the woman — who says she’s currently 17 weeks pregnant — alleges that after she found out she was with child, Arian “constantly harassed [her] to get an abortion for the child.”
Brittany also claims Arian “used family members to additionally harass [her] to get an abortion.”
In her suit, Brittany claims Arian’s brother approached her and told her, “If you love [Arian] so much you would get an abortion.”
Brittany claims the child is due in June — and she has already obtained a DNA test showing there’s a 99.9% probability that Arian is her baby daddy.
The woman is going after Arian for child support and a restraining order to force him to stop applying abortion pressure. She also wants damages for emotional distress.
In the day since the story broke, the word “gold digger” has appeared in connection with Norwood’s name all over the Internet, including in comment sections on both KHOU and TMZ. And, to be certain, Norwood’s an easy figure to demonize: selling photos to a gossip blog does nothing to quell the assertion that you’re in it for the money, and damages for “emotional distress,” which can certainly be legitimate in many cases, are nonetheless easy to portray as a cash-grab. Furthermore, in a follow-up from TMZ in which they obtained Foster’s legal response, he asserts that Norwood sought to star in a reality show about carrying Foster’s child:
In his legal docs, Foster claims Brittany has “already indicated in social media postings announcing that she will participate in a reality show revolving around her pregnancy and thereby draw additional media attention.”
Foster included a recent screen grab from what he believes to be Brittany’s Twitter page in which she wrote, “Shooting interviews for the last casting reel for my family’s reality show #blondashians.”
Even with all of that out there, though, it’s important to consider Norwood’s circumstances. She may well be considering monetizing her situation, and while that doesn’t make her a sympathetic character, it also doesn’t make the sort of coercion that Foster is accused of justified. Pressuring a woman into having an abortion when she wants to continue the pregnancy doesn’t suddenly become right just because the pregnant woman is maybe not a shining, suffering avatar of sympathy.
The entire case is complicated, and nobody in it—at least right now—looks all that good. But there’s something inherently wrong with the actions that Foster is accused of, and none of that hinges on whether or not Norwood is a “gold digger.”