Many professional athletes come from tough backgrounds and have difficult upbringings. Many had broken families, divorced parents, relatives in jail, or even parents who sold drugs or were addicts. There are so many examples of athletes overcoming difficult childhoods that it feels almost cliche to point out another story. But what Demaryius Thomas dealt with is one of the toughest situations I’ve heard. It captured my attention enough where I wanted to share it here.
ESPN profiled the Denver Broncos wide receiver on E:60 and shared the story of his childhood. One of the central points of the feature was that Thomas’ mother has never seen him play a football game. That seems weird considering he is a star wide receiver in the NFL and was pretty darn good at Georgia Tech.
Thomas’ mother hasn’t watched him play not because she is disinterested, but because she is serving a lengthy prison sentence for her part in a crack cocaine operation.
Demaryius’ mother, Katina Smith, had him when she was 16. His father, Bobby Thomas, was 19 when he was born, and the dad was hardly around because he had just enlisted in the military and was off on different assignments. When Demaryius was three, his mother was arrested and went to prison for 18 months for drug trafficking. That meant Demaryius spent a lot of time with his grandmother while his mother was gone and after she came back. And according to Demaryius, his grandmother ran a crack house. Literally.