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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Media Wrongly Making T.O. Look Bad in Missed Child Support Payment Case

There are few actions by athletes that draw headlines the way missed child support payments do. Don’t get us wrong here, we enjoy laughs at the expense of dudes like Antonio Cromartie who have difficulty remembering the names of all his children, but there is a big difference between deadbeat dads and ones who do the right thing. Sadly, many sports outlets and blogs rushed to hammer Terrell Owens when a story came out Wednesday saying he had missed a child support payment.

What most of those unfair outlets would have realized if they read the story is that T.O. falls into the latter category of fathers who don’t deserve ridicule and negative attention.

Owens missed his child support payment to Melanie Paige Smith intentionally based on the advice of his financial advisers. It was pretty clear why he was doing it — the NFL is in a lockout, T.O. just had knee surgery, and his future earnings are diminishing. Why should he continue to pay the same amount of money in child support if his income is significantly lower than it was in 2007? Not only is it unfair to keep the payments the same, but it was also vindictive of Melanie Paige Smith to take the story public.

In a statement, Terrell Owens’ publicist wrote back to set the record straight.

We are saddened by Ms. Smith and her attorney’s need to bring this to the public as a news story. Mr. Owens has never once missed a payment or fell behind in child support payments for any of his children. When his income changed a few times over the last few years, dramatically decreasing, he continued to pay the child support amounts as they were structured for his previous significantly higher income. For June 2011, Mr. Owens communicated directly with Ms. Smith to let her know prior that he would only be able to pay half of the month’s support payment on the due date. He also will be seeking an adjusted child support amounts based on his current financial situation due to the fact that he is currently unsigned and the NFL is on lockout.

Mr. Owens has always provided for his family, all children and all responsibilities. The fact that Ms. Smith attorney is using this difficult time as a press opportunity is a shame. In the meantime, Mr. Owens is doing everything he can to make his payments as ordered. I also would like to stress that is a private family matter that Mr. Owens takes very seriously and is handling.

Given that T.O. has never missed child support payments shows you that he does take his responsibilities seriously. He is not a deadbeat and he should not be categorized as such. Anyone who ridiculed him or considers him an irresponsible father is either unfair or did not put in the proper effort to research the story.

T.O. has done a lot of stupid things for which we’ve ripped him in the past, but this is not one of them. Hopefully the same outlets that rushed to point the finger at him and say “ooohhh!!!!” will adjust their story with vigilance, but we know that won’t be the case. Don’t fall into the same trap, and remember to read stories carefully before posting or believing them.



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