The OU Club of Woodward will be holding an autograph signing featuring former OU and NFL players Danny Bradley and his son Mark Bradley.
The Bradleys will be autographing copies of their new book “Inseparable,” that was released in early 2011, as well other sports memorabilia on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at Paradise Books located inside The Village at 1107 Main Street.
The News recently spoke to the Bradleys about their new book and upcoming visit to Woodward.
THE STORY BEHIND “INSEPARABLE”
Danny Bradley said “Inseparable” is an autobiography of his son Mark and the struggles he faced “from serious family issues on his mom's side” and connecting with a father he had been told abandoned him.
“In most cases there is an irresponsible father, but in this case there was an irresponsible mother,” Danny Bradley said.
Danny Bradley said Mark’s mother lied to the boy about who his birth father was and why the father wasn’t around.
“Mark had 4 dads in his life and that was spearheaded by his mom. He had a granddad, a step-dad and a birth certificate dad,” Danny Bradley said, noting “Mark was named after another dad, who didn’t know Mark wasn’t his son.”
Danny Bradley said he didn’t know Mark was his son until the boy was a few years old, because “the encounter (with Mark's mother) took place in high school and I was gone, and I never knew none of this.”
“When I got the phone call (from his mother about Mark), he was 2 or 3-years-old,” Danny Bradley said, noting he was about to play the University of Washington in the 1985 Orange Bowl when he got the call.
However, he said a paternity test to confirm he was Mark's father wasn't conducted until Mark was 5-years-old.
After realizing Mark was his son, Danny Bradley decided to become a part of the boy's life, by putting his NFL career on hold.
“He (Danny) dropped the NFL career to become a dad to a kid he didn’t know he had, that is remarkable to me,” Mark Bradley said. “A man is willing to put down everything in his life and become a father to a child that didn’t like him, now that's what I call a man’s man.”
However, there were several bumps in the road before the father and son could build their relationship.
Mark Bradley said during his younger years his mother and step-dad tried to keep him away from Danny. In addition, he said his mother began to tell him that his father Danny had abandoned him so he could go play football, and he didn’t want Mark playing football.
“We slandered the man (Danny) and defamed the man over a period of time,” Mark Bradley said.
Mark Bradley said he had several struggles growing up.
“I grew up in an environment where a family was down right mean to a person that didn't do anything. My struggle was being like my family, being a product of the environment,” Mark Bradley said.
Later on in life, Mark faced personal struggles with dealing with alcohol and drug problems, and also contemplating suicide.
Then while attending the University of Oklahoma, Mark was struggling academically and was about to be kicked out for plagiarism.
However, with help from his father, he was able to stay in school.
“Mark slipped and fell and we had the opportunity to get him rebuilt and he is a proud graduate from OU,” Danny Bradley said.
During his time at OU, Mark Bradley played football and saw the Sooners make 3 straight BCS Bowls appearances between 2002-2004, with 2 straight National Championship games in the Sugar Bowl vs. LSU, and Orange Bowl vs. Southern Cal.
“I was able to do a lot of things all because of my father. I was a suicidal kid and I dealt with drugs and if it wasn’t for his persistent love who knows where my life would be right now,” Mark Bradley said. “I could possibly be in a box right now and thank God it didn't turn out that way.”
THE PURPOSE OF “INSEPARABLE”
Danny Bradley said the purpose of “Inseparable” is share his story with other families, so they don’t have to go through what he and his son did.
“This is one of those family fall outs you don’t hear a lot about. You hear about those deadbeat fathers, my dad was one of them. I came from a domestic violence family,” Danny Bradley said. “We are sending the message about being responsible fathers and building relationships with their children.”
Danny Bradley said in the book, he and Mark are trying to tell their “piece of the story that it might be able to encourage other dads.”
“The foundation of the book is we are wanting to help any fathers going through a struggle with their kids and never give up on your kids, they are your assignment. Despite the circumstances never give up on your children,” Danny Bradley said.
The book talks about something you don’t hear much of, Danny Bradley said.
“No one wants to talk about an irresponsible mom, when they are several super-moms out there,” Danny Bradley said. “This is a dad who drops everything and tries to make a good relationship with the son I didn’t know I had.”
However, Danny Bradley said the book is not about him trying to be the perfect dad.
“The dad is not professing to be perfect, because there is no such thing as a perfect dad. I was just trying to have a relationship with my son,” Danny Bradley said.
Danny Bradley said no matter the circumstance, fathers should be their children’s lives.
“Be a father, be accountable and handle your responsibilities as a father,” he said.
UPCOMING VISIT TO WOODWARD
The upcoming book singing on Feb. 4 will be the first time the Bradleys have been to Woodward.
Danny Bradley said Tim Schnoebelen, director of the OU alumni group for the Woodward area, is spearheading the book signing.
“Tim was the very first book buyer and we promised him we would come to Woodward and socialize and hangout with some Sooner fans,” Danny Bradley said.
Danny Bradley said he is looking forward to “being in that part of the state I haven’t been to before.”
“We consider Oklahoma home even though we are from Arkansas. I know the people are great and I haven’t been to any part of Oklahoma where I didn’t have a great experience,” Danny Bradley said.