Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A former Ravens player–caught up in a child support scandal–is out of jail and speaking for the first time publicly about his arrest.
Rochelle Ritchie reports.
Jamal Lewis calls all of this a misunderstanding and says the truth will eventually come out and clear his name.
Before signing autographs at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention, former Ravens player Jamal Lewis opened up about allegations he failed to pay child support.
“I take care of my kids. I’ve never been an unfit father,” Lewis said.
Lewis admits he didn’t show up in court and says the allegations aren’t as serious as they’re being portrayed.
“It wasn’t really an abandonment issue. It’s more of a misunderstanding of me not showing up at a hearing to defend myself,” he said.
The 32-year-old running back was arrested Tuesday night in Clayton, Ga. on misdemeanor child abandonment charges. The arrest warrant says he hasn’t seen his son in more than a year and hasn’t paid child support in months after filing for bankruptcy.
“A lot of this stuff is totally false,” Lewis said.
Lewis has had his share of run-ins with the law as well as financial trouble.
In 2005, he pleaded guilty to trying to set up a cocaine deal. That was before he entered the NFL. He spent four months in a federal prison and is reportedly more than $10 million in debt.
“I made a mistake four years ago when I was 20 years old that I am paying heavily for,” he said then.
His character off the field was not a reflection of his skills as a football player. In one season, Lewis rushed more than 2,000 yards as a Raven.
There’s still no word from the Ravens camp on whether they will still induct Lewis into the “Ring of Honor” next month despite these allegations. He’s hoping his fans will continue to respect him as a man, an NFL star and as a father.
“This is totally not me and the truth will come out,” he said.
Lewis retired in 2009 from the NFL. He played six seasons with the Ravens.