By Ryan Velez
For the average person, they may feel that the money that comes with an NFL deal would be enough to set them up for life. However, it’s not always that simple, as The Daily Mail reports that one player, suspended from the field, now can’t make his child support payments. Suspended Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith is now requesting a reduction in payments, having not had any income since being banned following a third DUI in 2015.
Smith, 28, is $79,000 behind in payments, according to TMZ. He has forfeited $4.7 million in lost game checks due to suspensions over his brief career, according to Spotrac.com. While no one wants to see a former athlete destitute, there may be more behind this story, and Smith may have himself to blame, even beyond the DUIs that took him off the field to begin with.
The Mississippi native ‘continues to live a lavish lifestyle’ despite the fact that he has not been paid during his suspension, one source told TMZ, adding that Smith is just ‘blowing off’ his responsibility to his child. Smith did file for reinstatement in October of 2016 but has not been cleared by the league to return and there is no timetable for a decision by the NFL. His previous deal according to TMZ included pleading no contest to DUI charges. Smith was sentenced to 20 days in jail and another 90 days of probation in a residential treatment facility. He was also ordered to take anger-management courses.
He will be going back to court in May to deal with the child support issues. It’s not uncommon for players to blow through their fortunes. Here is some previous coverage of Terrell Owens, another player who was transparent on how he went through his money:
“One major issue that Owens encountered was living beyond his means. After being drafted in 1996, he admits to being drawn in by the sudden flashy lifestyle that an NFL salary suddenly offered.
“At that time I got sucked into wanting to be like everybody else, the guys with the Mercedes and all the flashy cars and the jewelry,” he says. “I think those are some of the most idiotic purchases I think players can do, especially when they don’t have that money in the bank account to really pay for that stuff.”
Owens continued, “My advice to any fan or athlete out there: Just don’t live beyond your means. You definitely have to be smart.” He adds that athletes who receive lofty signing bonuses have to remember that taxes will take a big chunk of that: “Those things have to be accounted for.”
He also admitted that a major mistake was not taking enough ownership of his own money, as athletes are targeted by financial advisors promising to have their best interests at heart.
“I took it at face value and I got burned,” Owens says. “I can’t blame them totally because I had some responsibility in that myself, because I should’ve been able to really manage my finances just as well as they were doing.” What can athletes do? For one, not be afraid to ask questions. “It’s a really tricky situation when you’re an athlete. You want to kinda keep a lot of things close to the vest and I think the best thing to do is ask questions before it’s too late,” Owens says.
He continued, “Find somebody you feel that are experienced in that area to give you advice, ask them what do you think about this. Don’t take anything for granted.”