Last night ESPN kicked off a new season of their hit documentary series “30 for 30” with an introspective into how and why professional athletes lose all of their money entitled “Broke.”
Let me say for one that I was completely stunned by not only the amount of pro athletes who go broke after their careers are over but also how they lost their small fortunes. According to the documentary (directed by Billy Corben), which used an article from Sports Illustrated in 2009 to further back their claims, 78% of NFL players go broke at least three years following their retirement from the league and 60% of NBA players lose all of their money at least five years after they retire from the game.
Those statistics are completely mind boggling and disturbing at the same time. Yes anyone who is truly educated on athletes salaries know that many professional players don’t make the type of money that star players do which is widely reported on the news and all across the internet, but they still make a great living and shouldn’t be in the situations which they apparently are.
How is it that someone making over $250,000 per year living from check-to-check like someone who is making less than $30,000 per year? The answer is simple, irresponsibility!
Often times players not making the big bucks that their star counterparts are attempt to live well over their means and do some of things that the stars who are making multi-millions each year do.
There is a segment within the documentary called “Keeping up with the Jones” where ex-players such as Andre Rison, Cliff Floyd and Keith McCants describe exactly how the culture inside of the locker room is often times more competitive than on the field. If one guy purchases something lavish then another may go out of his way to get something more flashy or extravagant just to one up him. This often times leads to these players over-extending themselves financially and could cost them much more than what was on the price tag in the long run.
Another contributing factor in these athletes losing it all is the dependency on them displayed from their family and friends. As soon as these athletes sign their first contract the long line of people who were in their lives before they became a pro forms with everyone having their hands out looking for something and the more these people get it seems the more they want. Everything from houses, cars, jewelry and clothes are expected by these friends and family members, and the players often times feel if they don’t oblige, then they are doing a disservice to the people in their lives. Truly though, its these vultures that are doing the dis-servicing to their athlete loved ones.
Another factor in players losing everything is bad investments and having the wrong people handle the huge responsibility which is their finances. There are countless times where pro athletes invest a large sum of money into companies without doing the proper research on exactly what they are investing in thus subjecting themselves to losing what they invested.
Other times athletes intrust their agents to also be their financial adviser, when that isn’t their forte, but since they develop a certain trust level with that agent due to him/her getting them a big contract from a team, then they drop their guard.
Even worse is when the athlete let’s a friend or family member take charge of their money even though that friend or family member may have absolutely no clue to what they are doing.
There are several other factors were spoken on in the documentary that are the cause of these pro athletes losing it all, but I strongly encourage that you watch it for yourself and see exactly what they are. This is an epidemic that needs to be corrected now before things get worse.
With the increase in salaries players continue to receive, things regarding this topic will get out of hand. The children growing up who aspire to become pro athletes will be in an even worse position if they do achieve their dreams thanks in large part to those who came before them. We have to do better for their sake and the sake of those who will come after them.