(Bloomberg News) Tina Julian, a 33-year-old nurse in San Diego, says she may not be able to afford child care if National Football League owners and players can't agree how to share more than $9 billion in annual revenue.
Julian's concern stems from the child support she gets from her 2-year-old son's father, New York Jets defensive back Antonio Cromartie, who might be without a paycheck if a new labor contract isn't reached.
"The money I get from him is definitely important," Julian said, declining to divulge how much she gets monthly from Cromartie, a free agent who was paid $1.7 million last season. "Something would have to change."
Cromartie, who according to the New York Post has nine children from eight women, is among the players who may be without work because of the NFL's inability to reach a collective bargaining agreement with its union. National Basketball Association players may face a similar situation when their contract expires in two months.
NFL and NBA players are lining up to get child support and alimony payments lowered to reflect what would be reduced incomes should their leagues shut down, said attorney Howard Rudolph of Rudolph & Associates LLP in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Rudolph, whose office is decorated with sports memorabilia from his athlete clients, said he's working on modification requests for NFL players that he wouldn't identify. It's the same move Wall Street executives made when they lost jobs or income during the recession, says Raoul Felder, a divorce lawyer whose clients have included former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the ex-wife of basketball player Jason Kidd.
"The NFL is an industry, and if the industry is in trouble, the men can't meet their obligations," Felder, 76, said in a telephone interview. "The only thing to do is file for modification."
Cromartie's agent, Jason Chinn, vice president of football operations at Westlake Village, Calif.-based Pro Tect Management, didn't return voice-mail messages left at his office or an e-mail received by Beth Acker, the company's executive assistant. Julian said in an e-mail that Cromartie hasn't mentioned the possibility of not being able to pay the support. Cromartie represented himself in Julian's paternity case, according to court records. Julian's attorney, Andy Cook, didn't return messages left at his office.
By Felder's measure, a top-paid athlete is no different than George Zahringer, a former managing director at Bear Stearns Cos. After losing his job, Zahringer urged a judge in 2009 to cancel an order that increased his alimony to $87,000 a month from $25,000, including retroactive payments. Richard Albrecht, an attorney for Zahringer in the case, declined to comment.