Stories from the Chargers the NFL would prefer you didn't know

Mama don't let your babies grow up to play football

Jamal Williams (76) in Chargers – Cardinals game, 9/22/02. Sureldie Williams, wife  Jamal Williams, alleges her husband turned against her, striking out violently. Jamal was arrested at their daughter's La Jolla school,
  • Jamal Williams (76) in Chargers – Cardinals game, 9/22/02. Sureldie Williams, wife Jamal Williams, alleges her husband turned against her, striking out violently. Jamal was arrested at their daughter's La Jolla school,

The life of a National Football League player's wife can have its highs and lows. Huge player salaries are often spent on dining, travel, gifts, cars, and expensive homes. On the other hand, when the relationship sours, the lavish lifestyle can turn into a nightmare. So says Sureldie Williams, wife of San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Jamal Williams. Last year, she alleges, her husband turned against her, striking out violently. Jamal was arrested at their daughter's La Jolla school, and soon the couple were in the midst of a divorce battle over child support and their dismal finances.

Rodney Harrison in Chargers – Raiders game, 12/08/02. Harrison has been accused of drugging the drinks of a woman and forcing her to have sex.

Rodney Harrison in Chargers – Raiders game, 12/08/02. Harrison has been accused of drugging the drinks of a woman and forcing her to have sex.

Hers is one of the silent NFL horror stories that have gone unreported by San Diego news media, which relies on the NFL's goodwill for access to Chargers games and players. News organizations and writers who write too candidly are denied passes to the Super Bowl and ancillary events. The Union-Tribune is sponsoring the downtown "Super Hub" Super Bowl party district.

Adrian Dingle (90) in Chargers – Rams game, 8/22/02. Dingle pled no contest to driving under the influence and was ordered to pay a fine,  restitution, and to attend evaluation and counseling programs. But Dingle didn't pay up, and he didn't show up for his appointment.

Adrian Dingle (90) in Chargers – Rams game, 8/22/02. Dingle pled no contest to driving under the influence and was ordered to pay a fine, restitution, and to attend evaluation and counseling programs. But Dingle didn't pay up, and he didn't show up for his appointment.

And because the league itself, critics say, is derelict in policing domestic violence, drug use, and alcohol abuse in its player ranks, a culture of spousal abuse and date rape has been allowed to flourish. Strong safety Rodney Harrison and ex-team member Darrien Gordon have been accused of drugging the drinks of a woman and forcing her to have sex.

When legal troubles develop, players and the league have legal talent available to clean up the mess and keep the story from reaching the public. Some cases are quietly settled, and others, such as paternity suits, are put under seal by friendly judges. Questions about the handling of a recent drunk-driving case involving Charger defensive end Adrian Dingle prompted San Diego Superior Court presiding judge Richard E.L. Strauss to angrily deny that any untoward influence was brought to bear.

"My husband [Jamal] and I married about two and a half years ago," declared Sureldie Williams in a written statement filed with a San Diego court last March. "We have a three-year-old daughter, and I am expecting our second child in September. My husband is a professional football player who earns a significant income. In 2001 he was paid $737,000, and in May 2001 he signed an extension contract under which he will be paid $2,450,000 for the year 2002. In 2003 his income will increase.

"We have enjoyed a privileged lifestyle during our marriage. In January of each year we would have an elaborate birthday party for our daughter. To celebrate her birthday, we would either travel out of town or fly our relatives in. And, we would shower our daughter with lavish gifts.

"Throughout the year, we took expensive trips just to 'get away' or to visit relatives. Last year, we took a first-class trip to the Bahamas, where we stayed at one of the most expensive hotels on the island. Other trips have included vacations in Las Vegas and in Louisville, where we stayed at five-star hotels.

"It has been our practice at Christmastime to hire one of the most well-known photographers to take our family Christmas photograph. We would typically spend about $3000 on our Christmas cards alone. For Christmas, we enjoyed showering both of our families with expensive gifts. We would also pay the travel expenses for them to come and visit us.

"During our marriage I enjoyed frequent shopping excursions for myself and our daughter. On any given month, it would not be unusual for me to spend $5000 on clothing. We also spent a significant amount on home furnishings. I shopped at such stores as Gucci, Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom, and Ann Taylor. Jewelry purchases alone were in the range of $16,000 a year. We also made frequent trips to toy stores to buy toys for our daughter, spending $200 to $500 on each occasion. In short, anything we wanted we bought.

"Expensive dining has also been a frequent luxury that I have enjoyed. We often dined at fancy restaurants, paying no attention to the price on the menu. We have always driven luxury cars, as well. I drive a Mercedes E 430, and my husband drives a new Yukon Denali. I am requesting exclusive temporary use and possession of the Mercedes, which is presently located in Texas.

"In August 2001, we purchased a beautiful 4500-square-foot home in Desoto, Texas. Our home is in a gated community. It has four bedrooms, a study, a game room, a media room, an exercise room, and a three-car garage. It was our plan to spend a few months a year in Texas and the rest of the year in San Diego. We currently have a lease on a rental in San Diego that will expire in May."

Unfortunately, according to Mrs. Williams, the money did not buy happiness and, indeed, became the source of Jamal's violence against her. As their marriage began falling apart, she claimed in a March declaration, her husband became physically abusive. It all began, she said, on February 28, 2002, when she was three months pregnant.

"During the morning on this date we were working on a financial plan, but our discussions turned into an argument. Respondent said many degrading things to me and became physically threatening. I was frightened and wanted to leave our apartment. I got my car keys and went up the stairs leading to the exit. When I was halfway up the stairway, respondent jumped on me to get the keys and punched me on my leg and on my side. When I tried to go back down the stairs and get away from him, he pushed me down the stairs, and I landed flat on my stomach.

"I got up and ran to the phone and started to dial 911. Before I could finish dialing, he came up from behind me and ripped the phone out of the wall. I then opened the patio door and exited the apartment from the patio by jumping over the railing. I had no money with me, no car keys, and no shoes. I went to a nearby McDonald's and called his business associate and his brother. I did not reach either of them but left detailed messages on their answering machines.

"I then walked back to the apartment and quietly opened the front door so I could grab my purse and keys, which I had dropped by the door when respondent attacked me. I had no money or credit cards in my purse because respondent had taken these a couple of days before. I rode around in my car until it was time to get my daughter from school. I came back to the apartment about four hours later, expecting that he had cooled down by this time and that his brother would be there to help."

After talking to his brother, Sureldie said, Jamal apologized. "Respondent rather coldly said he was sorry. His brother took our daughter to McDonald's while the two of us talked, and then he stayed with us for several hours. I was very sore where respondent had punched me and from being pushed down the stairs. I had swellings on my legs and lower back. Respondent is 6´3´´ and weighs about 350 pounds. He is very muscular and strong. He was contrite that evening about having hurt me and promised he would never hit me again."

But, Sureldie claimed, her ordeal was just beginning.

On Saturday, March 2, an argument began. "He called his mother and asked me to talk to his mother. While I was talking to her, he grabbed our daughter and said, 'We're leaving.' I put the phone down and told him that he should not be taking her away. She was holding tightly onto me and was frightened because the respondent was obviously very angry and out of control.

"At that point I hung up on the call with his mother and called 911. The police came to our apartment and talked to us. I told the police that I just wanted to get away for a while. The respondent said that I could not take our rental car, but the police verified that my name was on the rental agreement, and they told him to give me the keys."

After that, Sureldie said, she and her daughter moved in with a friend for a few days. Then on March 8 Jamal called with an offer of reconciliation. It involved a shopping trip, which quickly turned disastrous. "After our daughter was taken to preschool, respondent suggested that we go together and buy new wedding rings, which I understood to mean that he wanted to make a fresh start. We went to three places and after some time selected rings we wanted to purchase.

"Before the sale was finalized, however, he told me he had spent [all] of the money from a very large bonus we had been expecting and had wired his mother $82,000 from what he had received to pay off her home mortgage. We do not have a savings account, have some major bills, and we did not even have the means to pay for the rings we were about to order. I was extremely shocked by his actions, and he became very defensive about what he had done.

"While we were driving home, he pulled the truck over to the side of the road and told me to get out. I refused, and he then proceeded to drive home. When we got home, he pulled in behind my car so that I could not remove my car from the garage. Earlier that day, he had taken my cell phone, and he refused to give it back to me. He was verbally abusive, was very angry, and seemed to be getting out of control.

"I became very frightened. I called 911 and asked for someone to come out so I could leave before he became violent again. As soon as I got off the phone, he left the house, and I felt certain that he was going to get our daughter from her school. I was very concerned about respondent picking her up while he was in such a state, particularly since he had previously threatened to take her to his mother's home in Kentucky. I called the school and asked them not to release her to him, and they agreed.

"The police arrived at our apartment and took a report. After the officer spoke to a judge by phone, he provided me with an emergency protective order that will expire on Friday, March 15. In the meantime, respondent had gone to the school and told a teacher that he was leaving with Joy to 'go on a vacation' and that they would be gone 'for about a month.' They refused to release her to him, and while he was arguing with them, the police came and took him into custody.

"Even though I have the emergency protective order, I felt very unsafe, and I asked my father to come out from Texas to stay with me. He arrived that night, and he, Joy, and I checked into a hotel because I was still afraid that he would come to our apartment despite the protective order. I believe that respondent is mentally unstable. He has been given prescriptions for mood stabilizers, but he has refused to take them."

Saying she could no longer deal with the threats to her physical safety from Jamal, Sureldie and her daughter flew from San Diego to stay in the couple's Texas estate, but, according to a declaration dated April 18, 2002, she soon discovered that Jamal had "changed the security code to our home, and he also changed the emergency contact numbers to that of his mother and his brother." Jamal, she added, "also changed the code on our voice mail and he disconnected the long-distance service and had the cable turned off. He had all the locks changed and completed a change of address with the post, sending our mail to his mother's address."

"On March 27, around three o'clock in the morning, I received several phone calls on my cell phone. The caller did not speak, but I believe it was the respondent on the other end. I could hear someone breathing into the phone, but he would not respond.

"During our telephone conversation on March 30, the respondent said, 'So, you got a new car from Park Cities?' On March 29, I had put my car in the shop at Mercedes-Benz Park Cities to get new tires. They gave me a loaner car. Therefore, either the respondent had been following me in Texas or he was having someone else follow me and reporting to him about me."

The next week, on April 6, according to her declaration, Sureldie and her daughter Joy went to the Cheesecake Factory in San Diego to meet with Edith Lazarus, "who was to act as the supervisor between" Jamal and Joy. "During that meeting Ms. Lazarus asked me about my history with the respondent. She also asked about my background, and I told her about my parents' divorce and my religious beliefs. She asked if the respondent and I had tried counseling. She quoted from the Bible: 'The strong have to bear the infirmities of the weak,' and she said that I would need to make allowances for the respondent and his behavior. She told me to pray that he becomes enlightened and pray for strength for myself."

A day later at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, Lazarus brought Jamal, Joy, and Sureldie together. "The visit lasted for three hours, during which Ms. Lazarus would talk with me while the respondent played with Joy. She would then speak with the respondent when I stepped away. Toward the end of the visit, she sat the respondent and me down together and told us that we had a lot to lose if we went through with this divorce. She asked us each in turn if we still loved one another. She asked about the first time respondent and I met. She told us that we should pray and that the 'Holy Spirit was telling her that a divorce might not be the right thing for us to do.' She mentioned my pregnancy and our child. At one point, Ms. Lazarus went to her car to get her Polaroid camera, and she took numerous photos of the respondent and me with Joy, of the respondent and Joy, and of just the respondent and me together.

"After Ms. Lazarus left, the respondent asked if we 'could just talk, just the two of us.' By agreement, we returned to my apartment in our separate cars. I attempted to talk to the respondent about our marriage, but he told me to 'chill out,' and he continued to watch television and play with Joy. We put Joy to sleep together. The respondent and I were intimate that evening, and he spent the night.

"On Monday, April 8, I had a sonogram. I learned that we are going to have a baby girl and that she is doing well so far. I informed the respondent about the sonogram when he called later that day. We got together later, and I made dinner for us at the apartment. The respondent spent the next three nights at my apartment. During this time he and I talked about a reconciliation. I told him that I would discuss a dismissal of the restraining orders with my attorney; however, I did not dismiss the restraining orders and the respondent was aware of this. I was feeling very ambivalent about what I should do.

"On Wednesday, April 10, the respondent and I met with Dr. Chambers for marriage counseling. We had been referred to Dr. Chambers by Ms. Lazarus, and he told us she had contacted him about us. During that meeting I became very upset when the respondent denied that he had ever touched me and claimed that he had done anything wrong.

"Things deteriorated between the respondent and me after our meeting with Dr. Chambers. On Thursday we were supposed to meet with Edith Lazarus that night for dinner, but he told me that he had 'places to go, business to take care of.' He was very vague and defensive about telling me about his plans. He left in a huff without saying good-bye to Joy.

"After the respondent left the apartment, I noticed that my keys for the Texas residence and my car in Texas were missing from my purse. As noted above, prior to the court hearing on March 25, 2002, the respondent had gone to Texas and changed the locks on the residence; then, when I returned to Texas with an order giving me temporary exclusive use and possession of the Texas residence and the Mercedes, I changed the locks on the house. The keys that were taken from my purse were the new keys I obtained for the house and the keys for the car.

"Because of what has occurred, I have come to doubt that the respondent was really sincere about wanting to work on our marriage, and I do not believe that he will admit the truth about his behavior prior to our separation.

"On April 11, Ms. Lazarus left a message on my voice mail to 'make sure that' I dropped the restraining order so we could all go to the Zoo on Thursday, April 11; however, I did not call her back, and I have not spoken to Ms. Lazarus since April 7. I have not heard from either Ms. Lazarus or the respondent concerning his next visit."

In a declaration dated last April, Jamal disputed Sureldie's version of events and blamed her for the couple's financial problems, despite his seven-figure Chargers salary. His wife, he wrote, "is using the allegations of Domestic Violence to seek favoritism with the court. It is true that Petitioner and I had argued on February 28, 2002, regarding our finances. I received a portion of my signing bonus. At that time, I had concerns regarding our indebtedness. So, I asked Petitioner, as she was always in charge of our finances, and it made no sense that we owed money. I do not like to owe money for anything. Petitioner was very angry. She has always had all the control over our finances.

"As a matter of fact, I had no checks or credit cards to use. Petitioner then informed me that we owed her mother more than $94,000. I knew we owed her $30,000 for the down payment on our Texas home but had no idea about the other $64,000. When I asked for receipts from her mother, Petitioner became even more angry. She stated that I should trust her and her mother. I had just learned that petitioner has been paying her father's car loan every month of $749 from money I earned. Petitioner never discussed this, nor did she seek my approval to pay her father's car loan. Obviously it was my mistake to trust Petitioner and her family.

"It was my desire to get the financial situation out in the open. Petitioner believed my questioning the money owed to her mother was meant to be degrading to her mother. It was not. Petitioner and I have had continual financial problems during our marriage until just recently. We had to pawn our wedding rings two times during the two years that we have been married. Please note that the Petitioner discusses the fact that we went out to look at rings during this time period.

"Petitioner, who controlled our finances, obviously lived beyond our means. We had nothing to show for the money I have earned. It was just in August when we purchased our first home. Petitioner's mother had to give us $30,000 towards the down payment. As soon as I got a portion of my signing bonus, Petitioner wanted to give money to her mother. It was always understood that I would pay off my mother's house, and we would repay Petitioner's mother the $30,000 for the down payment."

Williams denied beating his wife and accused her of lying about the incident on the stairway in their apartment. "It is very curious to me," he declared, "that Petitioner stated in her declaration that although she was scared to death of me, she came back within the hour to the house to get her purse. If she was so scared that I was going to hurt her, this makes no sense. Petitioner has several friends she could have telephoned. I never pushed, punched, or jumped on Petitioner. Petitioner is just four months pregnant.

"On March 7, 2002, Petitioner and I went to her obstetrician for a regular checkup and sonogram. At no time during this doctor's visit did Petitioner mention any concern for the baby because I fell on her or because I punched her. There was no mention of any swelling or bruising. If I had, in fact, fell on Petitioner and punched Petitioner, she would have reported it to her doctor out of concern for the baby. Also, any punch from me would have left a bruise that would have been seen by the doctor."

His version of his arrest at his daughter's school differed from that of Sureldie's. "When I arrived at La Jolla Montessori School, the principal informed me that my wife had called and told her not to release the child to me. Then all of a sudden several police officers appeared and handcuffed me. Petitioner had told the police I was going to kidnap our child. They took me downtown to talk to a detective. I was released immediately."

Jamal concluded by alleging that it was he who had been subjected to physical attacks by Sureldie. "Petitioner has a history of domestic violence against me. In 1999 we resided in Texas. Petitioner was told to leave our home after she tried to stab me with a screwdriver. I refused to press charges, but my attorney is trying to get the police report.

"Another violent incident perpetrated against me by the Petitioner was as recent as May 2001." During a party at her mother's house, he said, Sureldie "went into an absolute rage. She ran from the backyard screaming and yelling at me. When she got to me, she started hitting me in front of everyone. I was very embarrassed and tried to grab her arms. I asked her to stop, but it was too late. Everyone at the party witnessed her behavior. Even her mother was concerned about her behavior."

Sureldie fired back in an April declaration to the court, denying she had ever attacked Jamal with a screwdriver or mishandled any of the family money. She repeated her allegation that Jamal had "lunged at me to get my keys, and he punched me in the side and on my leg. Then he pushed me down the stairs, and I landed on my stomach.

"At the doctor's office, he was in the room during the exam, which consisted solely of an examination of my abdomen and listening to the baby's heartbeat. The doctor could not have seen the swelling on my leg or on my side because those areas were not exposed. I was too afraid to report anything to her with the respondent in the room.

"It is not true I had complete control over the respondent's and my finances. Our expenses were largely handled by the respondent's agent/bookkeeper, and respondent's checks during the season were automatically deposited in an Enterprise Bank account."

Jamal's story about the May party incident at his mother's house was untrue, Sureldie charged. "I had been trying to get his attention, so I touched his arm, and then he turned around and pushed me. I fell to the ground, and then I got up and pushed him back. Then he pushed me through a screen door, and I fell into the house, scraping my knee.

"The following day, the respondent had an altercation with his brother. His mother locked the door leading to the upstairs area and then locked the door to the bedroom where she, his brother, Joy, and I were hiding from the respondent. His mother and I went downstairs to talk to him about 20-30 minutes later, and his brother remained upstairs. The matter was not really resolved, but his brother left the house several hours later."

One of the most damning allegations of violence by Chargers players came in December 1996, when, court records show, a woman accused strong safety Rodney Harrison and his then-teammate, cornerback Darrien Gordon, of spiking her drink and forcing her to have sex.

That case was handled for Harrison by Steve Feldman, a controversial sports agent and attorney from Newport Beach, who specializes in getting NFL players out of legal and financial jams, as well as helping them with contract negotiations. In August 1993, he filed suit against Junior Seau, alleging that the Charger linebacker failed to pay $34,900 owed him for his negotiations on Seau's behalf for a new contract. The attorney dismissed the case a month later. Feldman has long represented Harrison; he did so last November, when the strong safety sought to have his suspension without pay for a helmet-to-helmet hit -- his third serious violation of the season -- overturned. In that instance Feldman came up short and Harrison wound up surrendering $111,764.

Feldman -- who was investigated in the mid-1990s for giving gifts and various forms of financial consideration to college sports stars and their relatives in violation of NCAA rules -- sometimes provides more than just business and legal advice to his clients. According to a September 1995 account in the Boston Globe, Feldman in 1991 befriended University of Tennessee star wide receiver Carl Pickens.

According to the Globe, Pickens's girlfriend Alison Sexton was threatening to leave the player, charging that he had beaten her until she was bleeding and had given her a black eye. Feldman talked to the woman on the phone and told her the abuse was "no big deal" when compared to the millions of dollars Pickens was expected to earn in the NFL. Sexton left anyway. Feldman, who later became Pickens's agent, told the paper he was just trying to "add clarity to the situation."

In her December 1996 complaint against Harrison and Gordon, Victoria Espo said that in December 1995, she was "given wine to drink by Harrison and Gordon and is informed and believes and therein alleges that the wine had been adulterated or drugged by one or more of the Defendants, as the wine produced in Plaintiff strange feelings and made Plaintiff feel weak and not in control.

"After consuming a quantity of the wine," the complaint continued, "Harrison grabbed Espo by the arm and took her into Gordon's bedroom, away from Gordon and Plaintiff's roommate, whereupon Espo informed Harrison that she did not want to 'get physical' and did not want Harrison to touch her sexually.

"Nevertheless, and despite Espo's protestations, and through the use of physical force, threats, and intimidation, Harrison forced Espo into engaging in sexual acts with him, including Harrison's fondling of Espo's breasts, engaging in vaginal intercourse, and forced oral copulation by Espo of Harrison.

"Immediately thereafter, Gordon entered the room and Harrison threatened Espo that she 'had to do' Gordon, too, and that she had to 'respect' Harrison and his friend's house. Harrison then told Gordon that Espo was 'ready for him,' and left, closing the door leaving Gordon with Espo. Gordon immediately, and by means of force and intimidation, forced Espo to engage in sexual acts with him, including oral copulation of his sexual organ and vaginal intercourse."

Neither Harrison nor Gordon -- who in 1998 was arrested at a Denver nightclub after getting into an altercation with a bar manager who had asked him to leave following a dispute with a woman -- filed a defense to Espo's allegations. In June 1997, Espo's attorney told the court that the matter had been settled out of court, and he dismissed the case that July.

Contacted by phone last week, Feldman said that Espo's allegations against Harrison and Gordon were "completely unfounded and a long time ago. That case was dropped." Espo couldn't be reached for comment.

Feldman also represents Chargers defensive end Adrian Dingle, 25, a fifth-round 1999 draft pick. "Away from the football field, Dingle is one of many Chargers players who enjoy restoring classic cars in his spare time," according to a blurb about him on the Chargers website. "Today Dingle drives around San Diego in a restored 1965 blue convertible Pontiac Bonneville. He oversaw the restoration himself, including a new motor, paint job, chrome exterior, convertible top, rims, and stereo. He would like to start a collection of classic cars, adding one to his repertoire each year. He already has plans for his next car, a 1963 or '64 Chevy Impala."

These days, though, Dingle's driving is supposed to be limited to getting from home to work. On June 25, 2002, he was arrested by San Diego police, who found he had a blood alcohol level of .10 and charged him with driving drunk. On August 22, 2002, he pled no contest to driving under the influence and was ordered to pay an $1100 fine, $200 in restitution, and to attend evaluation and counseling programs for convicted drunk drivers. But Dingle didn't pay up, and he didn't show up for his appointment, and there the story becomes even more interesting.

A bench warrant for Dingle's arrest was issued September 23, 2002, in the middle of football season. Yet there was still no appearance by Dingle. Two days later, an attorney arrived, paid the fine, and told the clerk he was going upstairs to take care of the warrant, according to a note in the case file.

Then, on October 11, with still no appearance by Dingle, the file shows that the court extended the terms of the original probation, giving Dingle until January 24, 2003, to show proof that he had attended a three-month program for first offenders.

Asked during a telephone interview last week whether the case might have involved favoritism, Superior Court presiding judge Richard E.L. Strauss responded angrily. "Are you suggesting that I or anyone else received a bribe? I have never heard of anything like that. If you are asking me if I heard that somebody had been bribed, the answer is no. I think the mere suggestion of it is unbelievable."

Strauss's clerk referred questions to court commissioner Theodore Weathers, whom she said had handled the case. Weathers maintained he had no recollection of the matter. "I handle a lot of those kind of cases," he said.

Dingle remained free to play out the remainder of the season.

In a telephone interview last week, Feldman said, "The bench warrant was out only briefly, and it was pulled. Whatever was ordered by the court, he has complied with."

Several other Chargers have recently found themselves in more minor, if no less embarrassing scrapes with the law. Wide receiver Jeff Graham was arrested in January 2002 in Dayton, Ohio, for carrying a concealed weapon. Officers approached his car in the early-morning hours as it was parked with its headlights on and conducted a search. Graham was parked on the same street where his father had been killed in a one-car crash only a month before.

In February 2002, defensive tackle Leonardo Carson was accused of pulling a gun at a car-repair shop in Mobile, Alabama. A 29-year-old paint-and-body shop worker accused Carson of pushing him against a wall and threatening him with the weapon during an argument about repair work on Carson's car.

Then, in October of last year, ex-Charger Freddie Bradley, 32, and his wife were taken into custody at their home in Oxnard. He was arrested on suspicion of selling rock cocaine and she was held on suspicion of possession and intent to distribute.

As for Sureldie Williams, records show her financial future seems secure. But, as a result of a recent marital settlement agreement, Jamal will have a lot less money.

On October 28, 2002, Sureldie and Jamal signed a stipulation resolving their financial differences. "Beginning September 1, 2002, and continuing through December 31, 2002, Respondent shall pay to Petitioner nontaxable, nondeductible spousal support in the amount of $141,875 per month and child support for the parties' children...in the amount of $100,000 per month." In addition, according to the stipulation, Jamal agreed to pay "90 percent of the net amount of any performance bonuses he receives in 2002." Similar amounts are to be paid to Sureldie and the children through the years 2003, 2004, and 2005.

"Respondent's current contract with the San Diego Chargers sets his paragraph 5 compensation at $2,150,000 for 2002; $2,400,000 for 2003; $2,150,000 for 2004; and $2,650,000 for 2005. Further, Respondent's contract provides for additional compensation in the form of roster bonuses ($1,000,000 in 2003; $1,500,000 in 2004; and $1,500,000 in 2005), and various performance bonuses."

By the time Jamal signed that stipulation, he was no longer represented by an attorney. On June 18, 2002, his divorce lawyer, Peggy L. Moore, filed a statement with the court declaring she could no longer get along with him.

"The professional relationship between the Respondent and myself has come to a point where we are no longer able to work with each other in an attempt to resolve the issues in this case," wrote Moore. "There are now irreconcilable differences which are interfering with my representation of the Respondent. I have made several phone calls to Respondent as well as written correspondence to him regarding this case. He has failed to respond to any contacts."

A final paragraph in the agreement notes just now fleeting fame and fortune can be in the NFL.

"The duration of Respondent's career as a professional football player is limited and at present he has no training, skills, or education which allow him to replace the income he currently receives from playing professional football. The parties acknowledge that in all likelihood upon the conclusion of Respondent's career as a professional football player, his income will dramatically decrease. In light of these circumstances, the parties wish to provide as much as possible now for their children's support, care, and maintenance."

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