For a long time I haven’t had much sympathy for athletes (or celebrities) that go from having millions of dollars to being bankrupt (just because Donald Trump can do it multiple times doesn’t mean you can too). Months ago before starting this blog I had a talk with a friend of mine that was in the NFL. He went from having a million dollar contract to pretty much having nothing and living back at his mother’s apartment. Being the blunt person I am, I pretty much asked him “What the hell happened?!”. He explained to me it was because he got injured and was subsequently released from the team, but that wasn’t what I was asking, the real question was – where did all the money go?
Bad business dealings, shady managers, unnecessary spending habits and not knowing how to use a condom to prevent unwanted multiple baby mamas pregnancies, are many of the reoccurring themes we hear of athletes going broke. Though my friend is still baby free and luckily didn’t have anyone stealing money from him, his problems lied with bad business dealings and his frivolous spending habits. These athletes believe that this money will always be around. More often than not they do not realize that the 3 years 5 million dollar contact they signed for is really 2 million after the agent’s fee, Uncle Sam and their management gets their hands on their earnings. They also fail to realize that you aren’t getting a check in the mail the next day for this amount; you still have to play the entire 3 years without injury or being traded/cut.
Last week I heard the radio interview Mike Tyson gave about Terrell Owens. Tyson, who went from rags to riches to being broke again and now trying to collect those Hangover checks, said he doesn’t have sympathy for T.O and neither should we:
“No, we should have no sympathy for him, he’s a grown man. We should be jealous and pissed off he has so much goddamned fun. Shoot! That’s what we should be jealous about. Listen, this is one thing. When you’re living that life you think you’re a big boy — and this is one thing I learned when I was rolling like a big boy — I said ‘don’t worry about it, I can handle it, I’m a big boy.’ Big boys have big responsibilities and big circumstances.”
According to Sports Illustrated, 78 percent of NFL players and 60 percent of NBA players file for bankruptcy within five years of retirement.
8 out of 10?!? That’s ridiculous. What’s even more ridiculous is the fact that these athletes ignore these statistics – especially when their friends and colleagues are the contributors to them.
Obviously there’s a problem to have numbers that high and it got me thinking, do the leagues that make billions off of these athletes just don’t care?
I asked my friend, the former NFL player, and he said yes. When you go into the league there are programs to help you with finances, but they are through your team, not the league. The advisors are expensive and working with them is terminated once you go to another team. In the world of sports, you’re never guaranteed to stay on a team more than a year.
Though it’s not the leagues responsibility to tell you how and on what to spend your money – the least they could do for their cash cows is to invest a little in them by educating them and making them responsible people of society.
But hey, this is America, the home of credit and debt – in the words of Biggie “mo money mo problems”.