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Nine Mouths to Feed

MIKE TIERNEY The New York Times 11.03.2009 18:41
Nine Mouths to Feed - Travis Henry - Football - N.F.L.


Travis Henry was rattling off his children’s ages, which range from 3 to 11. He paused and took a breath before finishing.



This was no simple task. Henry, 30, a former N.F.L. running back who played for three teams from 2001 to 2007, has nine children — each by a different mother, some born as closely as a few months apart.

Reports of Henry’s prolific procreating, generated by child-support disputes, have highlighted how futile the N.F.L.’s attempts can be at educating its players about making wise choices. The disputes have even eclipsed the attention he received after he was indicted on charges of cocaine trafficking.

“They’ve got my blood; I’ve got to deal with it,” Henry said of fiscal responsibilities to his children. He spoke by telephone from his Denver residence, where he was under house arrest until recently for the drug matter.

Henry had just returned from Atlanta, where a judge showed little sympathy for his predicament during a hearing and declined to lower monthly payments from $3,000 for a 4-year-old son.

Three days after the telephone interview, he was jailed for falling $16,600 behind on support for a youngster in Frostproof, Fla., his hometown.

“I love all my kids,” he said in the interview, but asserted he could not afford the designated amounts, estimated at $170,000 a year by Randy Kessler, his Atlanta lawyer. Kessler said Henry was virtually broke.

“I’ve lost everything in this mess I’ve gotten myself into,” Henry said.

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