As a general rule of thumb, when you’re making $2.6 million over four years, the least you can do is support your kids.
But for Martavis Bryant of the Oakland Raiders, that seemingly simple piece of advice is apparently lost.
Bryant’s baby-mama, Jasmin Keesley, told TMZ Sports that the wide receiver has continually ducked his child support obligations for his 5-year-old daughter, frequently moving house and failing to notify authorities of his new address and otherwise doing his best to play the deadbeat dad role to perfection.
In fact, Bryant allegedly owes roughly $80,000 to the woman raising his child.
Keesley also alleges that the Raiders have been complicit in the dirty dealing, as two requests from social services to garnish Bryant’s wages have gone unheeded by the team.
In regards to the frequent moves, Keesley alleges that it creates a delay in the proceedings every time Bryant pulls the stunt.
“They literally have to find him, and it takes about four months each time,” Keesley said.
And while Bryant and his people have refused comment, there are things that don’t add up here.
For one thing, it’s not as though authorities can’t find Bryant to enforce the court order. He’s not in hiding. All they would need to do is show up at Raiders camp and serve papers. (He was on the field at Friday’s preseason game between the Raiders and the Detroit Lions.)
For another thing, the Raiders can’t simply refuse a request for wage garnishment from the state of California. To do so amounts to contempt of court, and the team has no compelling interest in protecting Bryant at the risk of fines and penalties to its own management.
Absolutely none of this is consistent with a child support case. If Bryant was willfully engaging in the obstruction of a child support case, he’d be in jail or at the very least facing criminal contempt charges, not playing football in front of tens of thousands of fans every week. (He was on the field at Friday’s preseason home game between the Raiders and the Detroit Lions.)
This is not to say Bryant is a Boy Scout. He has had numerous off-field issues since coming into the league in 2015.
Bryant has twice been suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, which is how he finally washed out with the Pittsburgh Steelers and ended up in Oakland in the first place.
Perhaps the bigger issue for Bryant this year, however, is his on-field performance. Paying child support will get a whole lot harder if he can’t find work after his rookie deal is up this year.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden has not been happy with Bryant’s performance or work ethic.
“He’s got to get out here and play better,” Gruden said in the inimitable style he brought to the broadcast booth during his days at ESPN. “He’s got to get out here. He’s in a competitive situation, and right now, a lot of the other receivers have had a nice camp.
“He’s just got to learn the offense. He’s got to stay out here. He’s had some illnesses. He’s got to get on the field. He’s got to master the offense and become more versatile, and that’s the key to making this team better.”
From the looks of it, Bryant’s personal and professional life both count as a mess. It remains to be seen, however, whether the child support case will proceed as the victim alleges.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.