A child custody dispute between Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith and the mother of their 3-year-old boy includes allegations of illegal drug use and domestic violence by the player, which he denies.
Micaela Sanchez said Smith, 29, has a “history of substance abuse and illicit drug usage” and “a history of being physically violent” toward her, according to a petition she filed in a Baltimore County Circuit Court earlier this year seeking sole custody of the child. The parents currently are bound by a shared custody arrangement they agreed to in 2016.
In court papers, Smith, a seventh-year player who also is seeking sole custody, denied “any ‘history,’ or any instance whatsoever, of his ever being ‘physically violent’ toward her.” He also denied “any history of substance abuse.”
"There's no truth to it,” Smith said after practice Friday. “I'm not going to give the story any legs."
Sanchez’s petition makes no reference to any specific violent incident.
Smith’s attorney, Steven Caplan, said in an interview that the player “has never been charged civilly or criminally by any authority with any act of physical abuse. And any allegation of physical abuse of any kind is unequivocally denied.”
The Feb. 14 filing, along with another petition filed by Sanchez’s attorney on May 31, says the mother is concerned for the child’s safety because, the documents allege, he has used drugs “in the presence of the minor child.”
The May petition included some undated pictures as exhibits of a man who appears to be smoking what looks like a small cigar and what looks to be a water pipe.
Smith “continues to live a NFL player party lifestyle (in addition to his drug use),” the initial petition said.
It said he “continues to expose the child to multiple women, teaching the child to say curse words and inappropriate gestures, drinking alcohol excessively, playing loud music at all different times of the day, having random people over at all different times, conducting what appear to be drug purchases at his residence, all while the child is present in the household.”
In a July 28 reply, Caplan wrote that the player “does not know what an ‘NFL player party lifestyle’ is.” It said he denies the allegations generally and reserves the right to present evidence to deny “any specific instances of alleged inappropriate contact if ever ultimately raised” by Sanchez.
The document also said Smith “denies any history of substance abuse, denies using illicit drugs in the presence of the minor child” and said he hasn’t failed any drug tests required by the custody agreement.
Under the court-approved custody agreement, the child is to be with Smith from Monday afternoons through Thursday afternoons and with Sanchez the rest of the time. It requires him to pay $6,000 per month in child support, plus a lump sum of $20,000 a year “to be used by mother for the general benefit of the child.”
The agreement calls for each party to be tested for a number of drugs. It specifies that a nanny be present when the boy is with his father.
Smith has acknowledged that he is the biological father of the child resulting from a relationship that his court filings characterize as “on again off again.”
The couple stopped living together in 2015 and Sanchez’s February petition said she moved to New Jersey where she lives now. Smith initiated the custody case after the breakup.
The case is still pending.
Caplan, the player’s attorney, said Smith is engaged to another woman and that he and his fiancee had a baby boy last month. The player announced the birth to reporters at a press conference following the team’s Oct. 8 game.
Asked if Smith would comment on the custody dispute, Caplan referred a reporter to the Ravens, which issued a short statement.
“We are aware of the serious accusations and we know the league is too, and has been for some time,” said Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne, adding that additional questions should be directed to Caplan.
The NFL did not reply to requests for comment.
Caplan said in an interview that Sanchez’s “behavior and allegations are the manifestation of a bitter ex-girlfriend seeking to deprive a loving and involved father of time with his child.”
Sanchez’s attorney, Harry Siegel, said in an email that he was out of town and would be unavailable to comment. Efforts to reach Sanchez through Siegel were unsuccessful.
Smith, who is from Colton, Calif., was a 2011 first-round draft pick from Colorado.
When Smith entered the NFL, he faced scrutiny because of off-the-field problems. He had been cited for third-degree assault and two underage drinking violations in college.
In 2014, Smith was charged with failure to obey a lawful order of a police officer, a misdemeanor, after an incident at the Greene Turtle in Towson. Police responding to a call about an unconscious woman in a bathroom at the York Road bar said they found Smith helping an intoxicated woman in the women's restroom. When asked to step aside and leave the restroom, Smith refused to comply and became argumentative, and was eventually handcuffed, police said.
The charges were dropped in 2015.
The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this report.