The website for the Georgia Department of Human Services states that when parents cannot or will not adequately care for their children, “someone must step in to ensure the children’s safety.”
In the case of ex-NFL star running back Jamal Lewis, that “someone” is collectively the state’s Division of Family and Children Services, law enforcement and the Clayton County court system.
Lewis was arrested last week for allegedly not paying child support for his son, with court documents noting that the former professional player has had no contact with the child for more than a year.
Lewis was booked into the Clayton County jail late in the evening on July 31 and released early the next morning on bond after being formally charged with child abandonment, which is a misdemeanor under state law.
Lewis denies the charge and terms the matter “a misunderstanding rather than the result of me being an unfit father.” In a statement he issued to reporters following the incident, he stated that he has “always provided” for his children and that he is actively seeking an arrangement that will allow him to better co-parent his son.
Lewis, who retired from the NFL in 2009 after a lengthy career, both made and lost a significant amount of money during and after his playing days. He filed for bankruptcy in Georgia earlier this year, listing nearly $11 million in debts.
Source: Baltimore Sun, “Ex-Ravens RB Jamal Lewis says arrest due to misunderstanding, not child neglect,” Jeff Zrebiec, Aug. 2, 2012