Recently, there have been two horrendous episodes of domestic violence on the part of star players in the National Football League. One was by a player who knocked his (then) Fiancee (and now his Wife) out on a casino elevator, and had to literally drag her to their room. The other case was of another player who physically beat his four-year old son, leaving various bruises and scars. He has allegedly also physically abused another son, as well.
There are some concerns, on the part of the corporate sponsors and the general public, as to how badly both of the two Teams handled these distressing events. More importantly, there are suggestions that the NFL–and even the League Commissioner–covered-up these offenses, until they became public knowledge. I believe that there are other cases of such violence that have just not been made public. I guess that anything goes in the pursuit of Money.
There is, however, another situation where Devon Still, a Defensive Tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, asked to take a day off during the Pre-Season to attend his Daughter’s dance recital, in Delaware. As he was preparing to take the four year-old Leah to the Recital, he noticed that she was sick; so, he took her to the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. After many tests, Leah was diagnosed as having a neuroblastoma–brain cancer. She has a 50-50 chance to survive.
As it turns-out, after having his heart set on being a professional football player, Devon Still was cut from the Team. Marvin Lewis, the Head Coach of the Bengals, was surprised at how calmly he took being dropped from the Team. Generally, that can mean a detour from a player’s dreams of fame and fortune. Devon just stated that then he would have more time to spend with his Daughter. Actually, he had been quite distracted by Leah’s medical condition.
When Coach Lewis learned of why Devon Still didn’t seem too concerned about being cut, he telephoned him and told him that he could join the Bengal’s Practice Squad, which meant retaining his health insurance. Leah’s cancer operations and treatment were going to cost over $1 Million, so remaining on the Team, in any capacity, would certainly help. The linked article from Sports Illustrated is as follows: http://mmqb.si.com/2014/09/16/devon-still-leah-cancer-cincinnati-bengals/.
The Cincinnati Bengals also placed Devon Still’s Football Jersey #75 on sale and promised that 100% of the profits would be donated to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, to support pediatric cancer research. Sean Payton, Head Coach of the New Orleans Saints immediately placed a personal order for 100 of the Jerseys, at a cost of $10,000.
There are several other pledge sites which are cited in the article. I encourage readers to read this very touching, linked story, a really feel-good article. The story of Devon and Leah Still shows that some people, even aspiring pro athletes certainly do have their priories straight. Not everyone in Professional Football is like the two horrendous people at the very beginning of this story, or the money-grabbing NFL.
Oh, by the way, Devon Still was activated for the second game of the Bengals season. In a very short period of time, just 16 plays, he had two sacks and several tackles. That would have been a great day for a defensive player in an entire game. To those readers who are unfamiliar with American Football, a Sack is when the opposing quarterback is tackled for a loss. Hopefully, Devon Still will stay on the actually Team permanently.