Former Packer tells tale of after football

TJV

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It can certainly be said that the NFL leaves players physically broken, but IMO it doesn’t leave them broke. The “broke” part is the responsibility of the players, not the NFL. Peer pressure, family, “friends”, and/or corrupt “financial consultants” and “advisors” no doubt contribute greatly to players squandering their money. However, even though some of them have been pampered for most of their lives because of their athletic talent, the person ultimately responsible is the player himself. 18-year olds are deemed responsible and adult enough to fight and die for our country, certainly 20-year olds and older should be deemed responsible for their finances.

If the average NFL player is in the league for 3.5 years and makes an average of $500,000, that’s $1.75M. After taxes and expenses that doesn't make one financially independent but that’s a significant start in life for someone in their mid-20s. Most of them also received a free college education (or most of one) so they aren’t strapped with huge student loans to pay off. Many have notoriety in their home towns and/or college cities that give them an entry into the business world few of their non-pro athlete peers have. Every young adult is prone to make mistakes, financial and otherwise but the opportunity the NFL provides for current and future financial gain can hardly be characterized fairly as “leaving them broke”.

And how about the extreme example of Warren Sapp? The story says he made over $82M during his playing career and only had $800+ in his bank account when he declared bankruptcy in 2012 (queue the ‘he’s a sap’ jokes). Was that the NFL’s fault, too? Q: What kind of idiot do you have to be not to put a few million in treasury bonds? A: A special kind and that’s all on Warren.

As far as being physical broken, certainly the players know, or should know the risks of playing at that level. But to the extent the NFL has failed to address, and hidden the dangers of concussions and other physical consequences of playing, IMO it is liable. I also think it’s shameful how the league has largely forgotten the old timers who helped to build the popularity of the league.

As far as the risk of grave physical consequences and early death due to playing in the NFL, I remember a poll done quite some time ago. This NY Times blog references it:
There’s a well-known survey in sports, known as the Goldman Dilemma. For it, a researcher, Bob Goldman, began asking elite athletes in the 1980s whether they would take a drug that guaranteed them a gold medal but would also kill them within five years. More than half of the athletes said yes. When he repeated the survey biannually for the next decade, the results were always the same. About half of the athletes were quite ready to take the bargain.

Only recently did researchers get around to asking nonathletes the same question. In results published online in February, 2009 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, exactly 2 of the 250 people surveyed in Sydney, Australia, said that they would take a drug that would ensure both success and an early death. “We were surprised,” James Connor, Ph.D., a lecturer at the University of New South Wales and one of the study’s authors, said in an e-mail message. “I expected 10-20 percent yes.” His conclusion, unassailable if inexplicable, is that “elite athletes are different from the general population, especially on desire to win.”
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/...es-dope-if-they-know-it-might-kill-them/?_r=0

I wonder how those eligible for the NFL draft would answer that question. My guess is in this day in which delayed gratification seems an antiquated notion and fame – even infamy – and wealth are viewed by many as the end-all be-all the results wouldn’t be much different.
 

El Guapo

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You see it outside of football today too. Families that make $100k - $300k take on big mortgages and lease fancy cars and go on trips. They still live paycheck to paycheck without putting enough away for retirement. It seems to be a part of American culture to spend up to and beyond our means. It's not just the athletes that are dumb.
 

XPack

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I may be a bit harsh, but this is just a self-pity article.

A player made 82mil and yet 820k in his a/c on retirement? Seriously? Not just here, but in any sport, a sinle injury can end careers. I'm sure they are aware of it, yet choose to ignore.

It's not just NFL where players retire, right? Most get a coaching job, probably at lower tiers, go into television commentary or do loads of jobs related to football. For the money they can also hire medical help to ge through post-playing depressions.

Just a run of the mill article with sensational title and nothing material inside.
 

TJV

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A player made 82mil and yet 820k in his a/c on retirement?
That would be bad enough, but it was worse. From the story: "Sapp made $82,185,056 during his NFL career. He ended up with $826.04 in his bank account,” and filed for bankruptcy in 2012." I understand if you thought I posted, $800K+, but there was no "K". BTW, Sapp retired before the 2008 season and declared bankruptcy four years later. I don't believe he was able to **** away his NFL pension and perhaps he was smart enough to save some assets through the bankruptcy process. But the evidence certainly goes against him being smart in any way.
 

PikeBadger

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That would be bad enough, but it was worse. From the story: "Sapp made $82,185,056 during his NFL career. He ended up with $826.04 in his bank account,” and filed for bankruptcy in 2012." I understand if you thought I posted, $800K+, but there was no "K". BTW, Sapp retired before the 2008 season and declared bankruptcy four years later. I don't believe he was able to **** away his NFL pension and perhaps he was smart enough to save some assets through the bankruptcy process. But the evidence certainly goes against him being smart in any way.
Sapp is from the U. The word smart is not in their lexicon. I've now seen two different 30 on 30 documentaries on the U. Thank goodness those people aren't the norm for the rest of the citizens in this country.
 

AmishMafia

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can't look it up now, but to me the all time "fool and his money" story is Jamarcus Russell. With rookie bonus he pocketed around $45M was cut and broke within something like 5 years.

If you are not going to even try to succeed, you have to realize you are never getting another contract. Why not save even 2 or 3% of your income? Something?
 
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Pkrjones

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While some may disagree I believe that this IS a job of their agent. An agent is responsible for the details of their contract with the team(s), they get a maximum of 3% of a player's contract (+ up to 20% of marketing deals). I think the NFL should make financial/investment advising a mandatory duty of their agents in order to get licensed, even if it's simply setting-up an automatic withdrawal (3 or 5%?) plan into a mutual fund.
 

TJV

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I understand the idea behind mandating that agents be more responsible for the players’ finances but at some point players have to be responsible for themselves. If the agent sets up an automatic savings plan, those funds can be withdrawn by the player. For example, I’ll bet Sapp liquidated a lot of investments. For some of the players, they’ve been cuddled since junior high school. If that continues through their NFL careers, what happens when they retire? Who should be responsible for them then? Should the NFL create an organization on the order of ‘visiting nurses’ called ‘visiting parents’?

I believe the NFL conducts financial planning/responsibility seminars for all rookies. I’ll bet the players who want to be responsible pay attention. Rookies and older players signing big contracts for the first time have access to a locker room full of players who’ve had experience with financial advisors, it wouldn’t be difficult for them to get a referral to a reputable person. Those who want to be responsible can be and those who don’t … at some point there’s no cure for stupid. IMO the NFL should facilitate players finding responsible representation but they shouldn’t mandate it. Players who get swindled by crooks have legal recourse. Those who **** away their money either learn their lesson or they don’t.
 

longtimefan

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I am sure the NFL does have a retirement option..a 401k and a pension if not mistaken.
 

SoonerPack

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This is a tough one because I do have compassion for people who find themselves in difficult situations but more time than not these situations seem to be self inflicted. These men know what they are signing up for and the fact that you are going to end up with a wrecked body is and has been common knowledge for some time now. The money side of things is another deal all together. Many of these young men come from very humble backgrounds and when you all of the sudden have hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions) of disposable income I can only imagine the temptations that run through their respective heads. I don't want to go too far into social commentary but I do feel this many times is a direct reflection of the current state of the family in this country. More times than not these athletes come from a home that had no father there to raise, teach and rear them. Mom is often gone working multiple jobs to keep a roof over head and food on the table. The streets themselves raise these young men too often and we all know that is a recipe for disaster most times. The family as we used to know it has sadly vanished from the inner cities and that is a shame and honestly breaks my heart. I consider myself one of the lucky ones as my folks have been married for 40+ years now and gave my sister and I ever opportunity they could to allow us the chance to succeed. Again, I am not saying these young men have zero culpability in their financial demise but when you look at the big picture you can easily see how the end result was almost inevitable. The other factor(s) is the fact that these players have hangers on and many times slime ball agents that could care less about these men and simply see them as a means to their financial freedom. I have done pretty well for myself but I have many friends that have done considerably better. For the life of me I can't comprehend bleeding one of my friends dry when they are the ones putting in the work that earned them the massive checks they take home. I wasn't the one cramming for that Calculus final, they were. I wasn't the one that didn't go to the party rather staying home to study all night for a mid-term, they were. THEY earned what they have and who the hell am I to act as if because we are great friends they somehow have this duty to provide for me and my well being. I understand that many of these hangers on have absolutely nothing but for crying out loud put the blunt and PS3 remote down and get a friggin job and quit bleeding your "boy" dry. Like I said this is a topic that has many layers to it and no matter how you look at it or what your view is you have to feel bad in some way for these young men that put their bodies on the line for our entertainment every week. I know the NFL and even some colleges offer financial courses but I think to myself surely there is more that can be done to make sure these stories surface less often. This could also prove to be tricky because you can't just forcibly take someone money and make them put X amount in savings but there has to be some sort of way to provide more long term stability for the players. Maybe 5-10% of each check could go into a retirement fund that can't be touched for X amount of years after leaving the league. Low to moderate risk investments that will provide a modest but predictable return. I think that if you would implement this from day one of their rookie contract most if not all players would not even notice the money missing as game checks are going to be so much bigger than any check these guys have ever seen. I am just brainstorming but certainly there are much smarter people than I with considerable experience in wealth management at the league's disposal that could come up with a system that promotes long(er) term stability for the players. With all of this being said maybe the league already has systems like above in place but I don't know if that's the case. Have a great day everyone and if you are work do your best today and build on a better tomorrow by going the extra mile. GPG!
 

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