Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bengals' Devon Still hasn't paid child support, says mother of cancer-stricken daughter: Report

Devon Still, who made headlines and won the hearts of fans from all over when the Cincinnati Bengals re-signed the once-cut player to help pay for his daughter's battle with cancer, has not paid child support in months, the little girl's mother claims.

Still, a defensive end for the NFL team, has not paid any child support for his four-year-old daughter Leah since July, according to her mother Channing Smythe.

The deadbeat claim threatens to overshadow what has been one of the few feel-good stories in a league otherwise riddled with controversy, including allegations of domestic violence and child abuse.

Smythe's attorney, Gloria Allred, has delivered a letter to the NFL asking it to investigate if Still has violated its Personal Conduct Policy by failing to pay child support, reported the New York Daily News.
"I don’t think it is fair that Devon Still, who is Leah’s father, has refused to pay any child support for her for the months of August, September, October and November of this year.," Smythe said in the letter.
Still's highly-publicized story began when he initially missed out on making Cincinnati's 53-man roster so he could be by his daughter's side while she endured expensive treatment for cancer. The sympathetic Bengals organization then offered him a spot on the practice squad, ensuring Leah would be covered under the team's health insurance policy.

Still fired back at the newspaper via Twitter:

He claims he went public with his daughter's cancer diagnosis "not for sympathy," he wrote on Instagram, but "because I've come to the point where I no longer [am] feeling sorry but [want] to ask that y'all keep my daughter in your prayers...

"The more prayers that go up, the more faith we [have] that she will overcome this obstacle," he wrote.

The courageous Leah was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in June and given a 50 per cent chance of survival. She has since endured surgery to remove a tumor, five rounds of chemotherapy, one round of radiotherapy and, most recently, stem cell treatment to restore bone marrow.

Still's trips from Cincinnati to Delaware to be with his daughter each time she goes in for treatment have been making news for months but, Smythe claims she has been unable to work at all because Leah needs full-time care.

Still's agent, a spokesman for the Bengals and an NFL spokesman did not respond to requests for comment when contacted by the Daily News.

He has set up a donation program encouraging people to pledge money for every sack the Bengals' defense gets this season in an effort to help raise money and awareness about pediatric cancer.

Hopefully this situation will be resolved right away and won't tarnish something the NFL can be proud of.

And — more importantly — a little girl's health.

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