Former NFL wideout Terrell Owens is no stranger to controversy.
Between his very public battles with coaches and players, reality TV shows and alleged suicide attempts, one can only assume T.O. relishes any time he spends in the spotlight. However, Owen’s latest firestorm could mean spending time in jail.
The mother of one of Owen’s four children wants him jailed or heavily fined if he doesn’t pay the $20,000 in child support he owes, according to a new petition filed by her attorney on Friday. The latest of several petitions filed in an Atlanta court by the mother, Melanie Paige Smith, said Owens owes $5,000 for every month from December through March.
Smith’s attorney, Randall Kessler, said in a letter to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “We plan to ask the court to send a strong message, given that he has only paid support in the last 10 months after a contempt action has been filed against him.”
Owens, who was released from the Cincinnati Bengals last season after playing 15 years in the NFL, now plays for the Allen Wranglers with the Indoor Football League.
After taking what was likely major pay cut to play in the IFL, Owens has had several money troubles. He has two homes in the Dallas area facing foreclosure and told GQ magazine in January that his monthly child support payments add up to $45,000, which is less than the $500,000 he can reportedly make this year playing for the Wranglers.
Of the four women he has had children with, three have sued him.
“It’s just a shame that those women don’t want to work and do something to help support my kids,” he said in the GQ article.
Owens, who has not commented on the latest allegations, blamed the NFL lockout last summer for not being able to make his child support payments to Smith and asked a judge to cut them in half. The request was not granted.
“We remain hopeful that he will choose to resume supporting his daughter, but neither we nor our client have had any indication from him since last year as to when and if he will ever provide another penny in support,” Kessler continued in his letter.
In all likelihood, Owens, a six-time Pro Bowler and holder of several NFL receiving records, has seen his last days in the NFL.