After just 2 years of retirement, 78% of NFL players are bankrupt.— Google Facts (@GoogleFacts) March 30, 2015
Russ Wiles, Arizona Republic:
Many athletes act on referrals, sometimes from teammates, that turn out to be toxic. News reports indicate that several members of the Denver Broncos lost perhaps $20 million combined through a scam, linked to a hedge-fund manager, in which players referred one another before the deal blew up.
"A player hears that his teammate has gotten great returns, so he wants to go with that guy, too," Chairman Richard Dozer of GenSpring said.
The quarterback position has taken financial hits over the years. Baltimore Colts' Johnny Unitas had his Golden Arm restaurant close after 24 years. Unitas blamed his partner, former Colts' S Bobby Boyd for his financial probems. Former Jacksonville Jaguars QB Mark Brunell had his 11 Whataburger franchises go bankrupt with over $20 million in debt. Tennessee Titans' QB Vince Young had a six year career with $25.7 million guaranteed from his rookie contract. Young earned over $45 million, but filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after reaching an agreement with creditors.
The most highly publicized NFL bankruptcy filing was made by QB Michael Vick. The dogfighting ring got him 23 months in a federal prison, and over $2.7 million in legal fees to lawyers and accountants. Vick has made great strides in paying off nearly $17.8 million in debt. His possible release by the New York Jets will further complicate financial matters.
Former Dallas Cowboys' QB's Crag Morton and Danny White have each filed for bankruptcy. White is $13 million in debt after failed real estate dealings in Texas. Morton, the first QB to start Super Bowls with two different teams, has twice filed after losing all his savings.
Four time Super Bowl Champion, RB Rocky Bleier filed for bankruptcy after a divorce. The Vietnam veteran sold his championship rings for just $40 thousand in the Chapter Seven bankruptcy.
The list of reasons are generally limited to these five categories:
1. Bad advice.
2. Extravagant spending.
3. Exorbitant loans from lenders who think an athlete is a good risk because he makes so much.
4. "Can't-miss" business schemes pitched by relatives and friends.
5. Bad luck.
Mark Hermann, Newsday:
Baseball is not exempt from financial losses. The problem is so widespread that one prominent agent said roughly half of major league ballplayers with salaries of $500,000 or more in the 1980s had little or none of their baseball earnings left four years after they retired. Jim Barrons, president of First Financial Strategies Inc. of Phoenix said, "they're just competitors by nature and they believe they can always succeed."
One doesn't have to wonder why CB Darrelle Revis would leave the New England Patriots for the New York Jets. The answer is $39 million guaranteed. Let's hope he doesn't join the list of NFL stars like Lawrence Taylor and Warren Sapp who have squandered it all..
Only Danny White of the Dallas Cowboys saw the situation in a good light. ``A lot of people perceive it as a negative, but it's really a positive move for (my family),'' said White.
It sounds as though this won't be the last time we hear from Danny White, and his creditors.
Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.
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