Tuck: Broke Athletes

Vince Young, won a National Title at Texas, and looked destined for stardom in the NFL.  He simply wasn’t prepared to handle the credit or blame in the NFL.  Reports are that seven years after getting $26 million guaranteed (not including endorsements), we have another high profile athlete claiming he is broke.

How does this happen?  And maybe a better question is, how does it happen so often?

This isn’t a rip on Young.  It’s a rip on all athletes for spending frivolously and investing foolishly.  Yes, the same sentence and sentiment would apply to movie stars, rock stars, and your neighbor.  Spending beyond your means or underestimating your means both qualify as terrible errors.

John L. Smith, Evander Holyfield, Bernie Kosar, Terrell Owens, Allen Iverson, Marion Jones, Michael Vick, Johnny Unitas, Rollie Fingers, Bjorn Borg, Lawrence Taylor, Dennis Rodman, Lenny Dykstra, Warren Sapp, Deuce McAllister, John Daly, and Mike Tyson are just some names that come to mind.  There are hundreds of others.

According to a report by Sports Illustrated, 78% of former NFL players are bankrupt or near-bankrupt within two years of retirement. In the NBA, that number is 60% within the first five years out of the league.  Different sports, different backgrounds, different upbringings, different people.  But one common mistake.

It is sad.  It makes most people angry.  It angers me.  It is irresponsible.  It is disappointing.  It is such a wasted opportunity.  Not just for the person making the money, but for the family and friends around him that could have benefited, and I don’t mean in the short span of them having the money, I mean in the long run.  Over generations.

These stories probably won’t stop surfacing anytime soon.  So we leave with a smile, there are still stories like this.

On a positive note, there are still some folks out there that stay grounded, both in their lives and with their wallets.  Redskins rookie RB Alfred Morris was a 6th round pick out of Florida Atlantic.  The Owls went 1-11 last year despite Morris becoming the schools all-time leading rusher.  He wasn’t expected to start, heck, he probably couldn’t have even been expected to make the team, but he did both and is off to a great start this season.

Morris could easily get caught up in the hype and excitement, but if you need an indication that won’t be the case, then check out the Redskins parking lot.  There you’ll find his 1991 Mazda 626.  Cost?  $1300.  Yes.  $1300.

Even as a late pick, Morris isn’t broke, and makes more than most of us.  But he says it keeps him grounded.  You can read the whole story here.  Too bad we don’t read or report more stories like his.