Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still declined to comment on a New York Daily News article that accused him of not paying child support for his cancer-stricken 4-year-old daughter Leah and instead issued a 97-word statement.
“My daughter’s battle with cancer has been inspirational to many all over the world. When she gets older, I want her to be able to look back and read about her positive impact on the world, not about the private issues her parents were going through. I am not going to retaliate against the mother of my daughter and the untruthful reports in the New York Daily News, by criticizing her character. I am going to continue to allow the court system to handle this matter, as it has been doing these past couple of months.”
In the Daily News article, Channing Smythe, Leah’s mother, said Still had paid child support in the past but claimed he quit doing so in August.
Smythe’s attorney, Gloria Allred, sent a letter to the NFL requesting an investigation into whether Still had violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis addressed the situation at his weekly press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“He’s got support from everybody here,” Lewis said. “I think Devon has grown up so much through this unfortunate illness that his daughter’s dealing with. It’s really grown him as a man and as a person, and I told him that just today how he’s handled everything and I’m so impressed. He’s really a beacon for a lot of people. He will be for a lot of young guys as they face different trials and tribulations as an NFL player because there are all the outside pressures that no one understands that guys go through.”
Lewis then was asked if he thinks players are easy targets for allegations that may not be true.
“Devon’s dealing with something … and we’re not privy to all the facts of it, but Devon is very confident he’s taken care of business the right way,” Lewis said. “Obviously if there’s things that need to be done through the legality, through the courts, it will come out that way. We’re going to continue to support him and we’re very confident in the things that he’s done.”