There are a few things you need to know about the Eagles’ new left tackle, Demetress Bell. He comes from the Buffalo Bills, the same team that provided the Birds with Jason Peters, the man he’s replacing for the 2012 season. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 draft out of Northwestern State, and became the Bills’ full-time left tackle after Peters left in 2009. His Wikipedia page lists him as “Demetrius Bell.” He is, also, the unacknowledged son of former NBA great Karl Malone.
The best account of Bell’s uneasy relationship with his famous father comes from Jemile Hill of ESPN, who wrote a lengthy piece on the two just after Bell was drafted.
Yes, Bell’s father is Karl Malone. And if you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of Bell or seen these two engaged in any father-son moments, it’s because Malone apparently wants nothing to do with him.
[…] Bell lost out in the father lottery. According to Bell, Malone told him it was too late for him to be his father, and he’d have to make it on his own.
[…] It would be one thing if Malone was unable to financially provide for his son, but he made more than $100 million during his NBA career. The Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune reported that when Bell’s grandparents initially took Malone to court for paternity in 1986, his second year with the Jazz, they requested Malone pay $200 a week. Malone didn’t respond to the suit, but a Louisiana judge ruled he was Bell’s father — after a paternity test showed that was indeed accurate — and ordered Malone to pay $125 a week, plus past and future medical expenses. Malone claimed that was too much and later reached a confidential out-of-court settlement with Bell’s family between 1988 and 1989.
Bell is hardly the only NFL player to grow up without a father. But to grow up with a famous father so transparently uninterested in raising you — who refuses to even talk about you in public — is a fate we wouldn’t wish on any child. When it came to being a parent, the Mailman didn’t deliver.