When ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary Broke aired, it was sadly revealing and eerily prophetic. So many athletes, particularly NFL players, fall to the glitz and glam and all-too-familiar trappings of professional sports that leaves many of them financially ruined–broke. Today, Vince Young’s name was added to that list.
Young filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to LA Times Sports:
“[Young] invested in private, illiquid investments, and he overspent,” said Ed Butowsky, a Dallas financial adviser who contributed to an ESPN Films documentary about the money woes of pro athletes. “He’s ultimately responsible for all his decisions, but the people around him should have taken better care of him.
The petition, filed in a Houston federal bankruptcy court, lists his estimated assets between $500,001 and $1 million and liabilities between $1,001,000 and $10 million.
The former University of Texas star is fighting two lawsuits stemming from a loan of nearly $2 million taken out in his name while NFL players were locked out in 2011.
Young, who had a promising career as a quarterback has reached settlements from that $2 million dollar loan, and Young ended up suing Pro Player Funding, the group that secured the loan in his name as well as his financial advisor Ronnie Peoples, and former agent, Major Adams II, for allegedly conspiring to obtain the loan.
Young earned over $34 million in his short NFL career, but still has high hopes for a successful return. He is still young enough and talented enough to do it, and I hope that young NFL players and the future rookie class take three lessons from his story:
1. Sports is a business. While playing the game is fun and is entertaining, at the end of the day, this is a business. So everything including your name, becomes a brand worth protecting and building. There is life after football, and how well you live it depends on how well you prepare for it while you’re playing.
2. Make sure you have a trusted group of advisors. On an episode of The Cosby Show, Dr. Cliff Huxtable once told his son Theo, “If the accountant can count, and the manager can count and you can’t count, you gone be broke.” Athletes need to have a sound team of people around them protecting their financial interests. It also wouldn’t hurt them to learn how to count their own money.
3. Learn to live on 75% of your net pay. This is a valuable rule. Saving is critical. Athletes who buy up houses and cars only to have them foreclosed and repossessed or those who invest in supposed “opportunities” without due diligence to fact checking or research are sealing their financial fate.
There’s a proverb which states, “a fool and his money shall soon part”.
It’s too bad so many young, professional athletes make this a reality.
What do you think?
Your Jersey Girlfriend,