The NFL has been criticized for awarding $3.5 million in child support to the families and friends of players whose criminal charges were dropped in recent years.

Many parents have voiced their displeasure on social media and at league meetings, claiming that the payments were unjustified.

But an NFL spokesman, Matt Hinton, said the league is not interested in issuing any such payments.

Hinton said the money was provided in a voluntary way.

He said the NFL’s Child Support Task Force is reviewing the matter.

The NFLPA also issued a statement Tuesday saying the payments are intended to assist in the families recovery and to provide an opportunity for the players to participate in activities that would benefit them.

The union said in a statement that the players “have always been the ones who have supported the families.”

The players are not eligible for the NFLPA’s $1.25 million scholarship, which helps them cover the cost of living expenses.

The players have until March 1 to repay the money.

Hensins office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The latest news from around the NFL The Associated Press contributed to this report.