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Good lord, what is happening with the NFL players? If you've been reading the papers recently, you'd think the National Football League was made up exclusively of ruffians, hooligans, riff-raff, rowdies, and yahoos. The National Hoi Polloi League. Well, giant-of-a-man Ray McDonald's girlfriend is pregnant, and she is the latest victim of the National Riff-Raff League. Let's hope San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh kicks him off the team.
The full story, as we understand it, goes something like this: big birthday bash for Ray McDonald is thrown, Ray McDonald's pregnant girlfriend is in attendance along with many of McDonald's teammates, Ray McDonald allegedly strikes his girlfriend and causes bruising and marks, Ray McDonald gets arrested by the po-po. One of his teammates, tight end Vernon Davis, told ESPN that he was on his way out with the coppers showed up to take him away, and he said he didn't see anything. Davis had actually already posted pictures of the party on Instagram, but took them down because he didn't want to associate with any of the drama that unfolded.
I like Harbaugh's stance on this kind of thing. No tolerance. You hit a kid or a wife or abuse them in some way, you're gone. It's probably only a matter of time before he's off the team. He showed up to practice because it's not yet been determined what exactly went down, and nobody wants to be too hasty pasty and accuse McDonald of beating his girlfriend if that's not actually what happened. I don't know what the alternative scenario would be-- perhaps she walked into a light pole? Immediately after McDonald left jail, he said "The truth will come out, you know. I can't say too much right now but the truth will come out. Everybody knows what kind of person I am. I'm a good-hearted person." Uhhhh.....I think I'm missing something here, but we shall see.
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Running a site that's chronicled the Wives and Girlfriends of nearly 2,000 professional athletes in our history, you hear from the WAGs directly every so often. There have been less than pleasant conversations for sure, but we've also been lucky enough to have great interactions as well. And one of our favorite interactions of all time is with New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard's girlfriend Ashley Brown.
PlayerWives.com: So we usually open up giving you the option to tell your story. How long have you and Alfonzo been together? How did you meet? Kids?
Ashley Brown: Alfonzo and I met through a mutual friend around the end of his junior year of college, we both were skeptical about going on a "blind date" but after that first date, we were inseparable! We have 2 daughters, Jurnee is 4 and Lark is 1. I'm also currently pregnant with twins due Sept 14' Alfonzo happens to be a twin himself and they run in every generation in my family.
PW: The Patriots have made some major changes to their pass D this offseason. How does Alfonzo see his role changing next year?
AB: One thing I learned about the NFL is you can't control the changes that come, the best thing for him to do is get better everyday and work hard to support his family.
PW: What's it like watching Alfonzo go out there every Sunday knowing injury is always lurking around the corner?
AB: Each game is incredibly nerve racking and intense! We just pray and know that whatever happens is for a reason, and we can't control the man above.
PW: The NFL is a fickle league where there's eye popping money to be earned, but also the looming threat of being cut at any given moment and having to up and move your lives. While so far, New England has been your only professional home, how does a family prepare for that?
AB: There's really no way in preparing for something like that, we try and take it day by day. It's something that you really never know how to handle until it happens.
PW: What has been the best thing about life in the NFL? What's been most challenging?
AB: The best thing has been watching Alfonzo build his career and live his dream! From watching his college games to getting drafted, it's all an amazing experience! Obviously moving away from our hometown, family and friends has been challenging but it's just another chapter in our book of life! We're absolutely blessed to be here and thankful for the opportunity.
PW: Alfonzo has had some off the field issues, which dropped him in the draft, and saw him serve some time this offseason. With a media hungry town that loves it's sports, how has it been on you, Alfonzo, and your family/?
AB: Thankfully we've managed to get through it with our chins up knowing that we can now put it all behind us and move forward. Nobody is perfect and everyone has their chosen obstacles.
PW: There has been plenty of discussion about that talked about Alfonzo mentoring his cousin Darqueze Dennard (former Michigan State cornerback and Bengals rookie) about keeping his profile clean off the field. Alfonzo seems to have grown from the incident before the 2012 draft and helping others learn from his mistake. Is that a fair observation?
AB: Absolutely! There's no going around the incident but the only way out is the way through! And it's only made him an even better father and significant other.
PW: How is Boston in general? This town love our sports, we love our athlete's, and some of the fanbase doesn't quite understand and respect boundaries. How's the experience been so far?
AB: Being from Nebraska where the Husker football team pretty much rules the town, the fan base is very similar. Nothing outrageous has happened as far as fans- I often encourage Alfonzo to reply to his fan mail and to always stop and sign an autograph when asked. But Boston in general is a great place! Definitely bigger than what we're use to so it's great to experience life up here!
PW: Even outside Boston, people love to speculate. I know there are a couple message boards out there which anyone can hop on and post unverified stories about being with or knowing someone who was with a player. How do you guys handle that? Can you truly block it out?
AB: This world is all about people speculating and thinking they know everything when in reality they really are just begging for a reaction from us. Alfonzo and I have a very long and strong relationship and it can't be broken by social media or false accusations. We don't acknowledge them therefore they remain irrelevant.
PW: I know that a lot of the wives and girlfriends watch the games together and are very close. Who are some of your closest WAG friends from the team?
AB: I'm close with a couple of the girls that came in the year we did, I also associate with a couple of the veteran wives such as Wilfork and Mayo.
PW: There's an interesting dichotomy with Pats fans specifically. Tommy's wife just so happens to be the biggest supermodel in the world. Vince's wife is one of the most well known WAGs in the NFL. While we know Gisele isn't always in attendance, what's it like in the family section? Is it competitive? Are the other wives and girlfriends embracing of new ladies to join?
AB: The wives and girlfriends are very welcoming to new ladies! They're very helpful and willing to lend a hand.
PW: Michael Sam has raised an interesting question: How would the boyfriend or husband of a player fit in with the rest of the significant others from the team?
AB: I don't see any problem with anyone fitting in no matter what the issue may be. We're all here for our significant others and that's all that matters!
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Devon Still's girlfriend Asha will soon be Mrs. Asha Still. The two got engaged this year and posted a picture of Asha with her engagement ring, all smiles. Devon was cut from the Cincinatti Bengals squad earlier for missing practices and some mini-camp because of the situation with his daughter, but the Bengals organization rehired him to play on the practice squad and therefore not have to travel in order for him to focus on and help pay for her treatments.
Devon's four year-old daughter Leah has cancer, and she is fighting through chemo treatment and trying to beat it. Any way you slice it, the situation is sad and scary. Asha is clearly doing everything she can to support Devon and Leah. They, along with the Cincinatti Bengals, have set up a campaign to raise money for pediatric cancer research. It's hard to imagine how frightening it must be to have a child with stage IV neuroblastoma cancer. Devon's daughter Leah is the child of he and his former girlfriend Channing Smythe, who is also doing everything she can to help and support Leah.
Asha is a hairstylist and is very happy to be engaged to Devon, who has got all kinds of things to work toward right now. He has made the statement before that everything he was doing on the field was to help Leah. It was cool of the Bengals organization to rehire him onto the practice squad. It's a touchy situation to have to let go of a player because he's missing practices to try and attend to his dying daughter. In fact, the Bengals ensured that the NFL health insurance would help shoulder the burden of her treatments, which he's said might go as high as $1,000,000. He's actually on the active roster. Other players must surely understand the intent here, and it's hard to have any resentment. Best wishes for Devon, Asha, and Leah.