Earlier this week, we passed along Tavon Austin's concerns about all the cousins he never knew coming out of the woodwork looking for money. There was a light-hearted tone to his comments, but it undoubtedly is a serious problem for many players.
You might remember last year when Smith called 911 after his siblings showed up at his Dallas home to "harass and torment" him "in the pursuit of collecting financial gain," in the words of the police report. He also was forced to file a restraining order against his mother and stepfather.
Smith spoke about the ordeal for the first time to The Dallas Morning News. He agreed to pay his parents in four installments after getting drafted, but they kept coming back for more. When he told them about a move to left tackle, they didn't say congrats. They talked about the next contract.
"There was a certain amount I agreed to give them, but it went way beyond that and I was just like, 'I'm done,' " Smith said. "I feel like I shouldn't have given them so much. There was nothing wrong with helping them out and making sure they were taken care of, but not something to where they live the same lifestyle as you."
Smith's lawyer alleged that his mom and/or stepdad threatened Smith's well-being and the life of his girlfriend. The lawyer also alleged that Smith's family took more than $1 million from him. The money went missing when Smith was using a financial advisor his parents recommended.
"There was money missing, but I just don't know where it went," Smith said. "There were times I would check my statements and it wouldn't make sense and I hadn't authorized it at all. I just felt betrayed and I was like, 'Who can I trust?' "
Smith says he's open to a reconciliation with his family someday if they give him "the space" he has asked for. But his story is a sad, cautionary tale for incoming rookies.
"The takeaway from this is don't let people take advantage of you. And it's all right to say no to certain people," Smith said.
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