Falcons' Brown pays costs for infant's funeral

A Louisville family expressed gratitude toward Atlanta Falcons guard Jamon Brown for helping pay for the funeral expenses for 1-month-old De'Anthony Lee Trice.

Police said De'Anthony died last week after his father hit him in a post-video game rage. Brown, a Louisville-area native who attended the University of Louisville, used funds from his foundation to assist the family, who buried the boy at Louisville's Green Meadows Cemetery on Monday. The father, Anthony Trice, was indicted with first-degree murder and criminal abuse charges on Wednesday.

Alvena Smith, the child's great-grandmother, praised Brown.

"I'm very thankful and grateful to Jamon,'' Smith told ESPN via email. "I met him and his brother through my nephew. Jamon is so thoughtful. He has not forgotten where he came from. I can't thank him for his generosity because he definitely didn't have to bless us the way he did. I didn't know he loved us that much.

"To him I'm grateful. I thank his mom for doing a great job raising those boys because they turned out to be wonderful young men.''

Brown received word of the tragedy when the executive director of his foundation, Danny Mosby, reached out from Louisville and alerted him to the story. According to the police report, Anthony Trice was in his bedroom with his child playing video games at 8 p.m. May 3 when he began to lose the game. Trice then became angry and threw the remote. He told police he struck his infant son in the head with his fist, causing severe physical injury. After hitting the child, Trice attempted to quiet him. As he carried the baby into the kitchen, he dropped the baby -- according to the police report -- picked the baby up, then continued to the kitchen to make a bottle.

Trice brought the baby back into the bedroom and propped him up in a seated position, placed a blanket in front of the baby, and placed the bottle in the baby's mouth. He then left the baby and went to the bathroom. Upon his return, Trice noticed the baby was in distress and called 911 for help. The father and child were in the house alone as the mother, Ronisha Tunstill, told a Louisville television station she was out running errands.

The baby was taken to Norton Children's Hospital for the injuries and listed in serious condition. While at the hospital, he succumbed to the injuries and was pronounced dead on May 5 shortly after 8 p.m.

Trice, arrested May 4, is being held in the main jail of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

"I was getting off the field when my executive director sent me the story, and this was before we decided to step up and partner with Louisville Children's Hospital Foundation,'' Brown said. "When he sent me the story, I was like, 'Bro, this is sad.' I read it, and I broke down.

"I have a daughter of my own, and I can only imagine making an irrational decision after losing a video game, not only what that would do to me but what that would do to my family. I was like 'Damn' just to be honest. It's crazy some of the things that go on in this world.''

Bishop Dennis V. Lyons, who officiated at Monday's funeral service at New Zion Baptist Church, praised Brown's act of kindness.

"It was phenomenal,'' Lyons said. "Sometimes people will make donations, but he went beyond. He even bought a headstone. He actually did a miracle with this family, for them not to have the pressure to beg. They were able to have a very dignified funeral service.''

Brown, 26, started his foundation during his second season in the NFL. The mission statement of the foundation is to "impact the lives of those struggling with poverty, violence, and youth homelessness, and to improve upon the education and healthy living issues that are typically prevalent in at-risk areas while influencing others to do the same.'' The foundation is currently in the process of partnering with local businesses to keep Louisville swimming pools open for the summer after government funding was cut short.

Brown, who signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract in March as a free agent, felt it was his calling to assist with the infant's funeral cost. His brother, Jamal Brown, is a musician at the same True Believers In Christ Church the grieving family attends. Brown calls the pastor, Jason Reynolds, his best friend.

"I was like, 'Let's step outside of what we do' because I wanted to let the public know that we can't necessarily help every problem, but there are more problems that we do outside of our mission,'' Brown said. "We were hoping that it would inspire different organizations that, in times like this, would step up and just lend a helping hand.''

Brown offered words of encouragement to the family following the loss.

"Tough times don't last; tough people do,'' Brown said. "Something like this, as much as it hurts, you have to celebrate that that child is now in a better place. That child, although he didn't get to live a long life, that child is with our Maker. And just to keep in their mind that the child is not physically with them, but the child is now looking down on them.

"I'm sure the child would want them to be strong, still full of life and to keep living. Use their story to bring awareness to parenting. We, as parents, we need to make better decisions, and we need to be better parents for our kids and for the future.''