When Denver Bronocs receiver Demaryius Thomas takes the field on Sunday his motivation and drive to win will not be coming from the stands, but from a Tallahassee, Florida prison. That’s where his mother and grandmother are jailed.
Katina Smith and Minnie Pearl Thomas, his mother and grandmother respectively, have been incarcerated since 2000 convicted of charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine. The minimum security federal prison for women is where they’ve made their home since Thomas was 11-years-old.
They have never seen him play football in person, but Smith, who’s scheduled for release in June 2017, still tapes his number to her uniform. They watch him play every Sunday on TV. This gives Thomas inspiration:
“That drives me more, to know that they’re in there and they’re watching me,” Thomas said Monday. “I try to go out and play my best, because I know they’re going to talk about it to all the people in the jailhouse.”
Thomas’ mother, Katina Smith says she tells her son of the need to obey the law and uses her situation as an example of what not to do:
“I tell him to be the only example he needs of what can happen and the need to obey the laws of the land, down to wearing your seat belt,” Smith said. “Just look at me and my mom.”
Thomas speaks to his mother and grandmother after every game and will surely see them after the Super Bowl.
What I like about this story is that while Thomas could have disdain and contempt for his mother and grandmother, he seemingly has nothing but love and forgiveness. I can imagine it was pretty traumatic not having your mother or father at age 11, but all things worked out for the good, and Thomas went on to be a star player at Georgia Tech University, and now a star receiver for the Denver Broncos.
What a great story of hope and love.
Your Jersey Girlfriend,