NFL players may seem to have the life; some sign million dollar contracts in their early twenties and get to do what they love. What many people don’t realize is that 78 percent of NFL players endure severe financial distress within two years of retiring. How can this happen when the minimum rookie salary is $310,000 a year?
Unfortunately, NFL players aren’t immune to the financial pitfalls of life. Partying, drug use and having too many children are some easy ways athletes can find themselves depleting their savings but many NFL players find themselves poorly invested in businesses and real estate.
One such case would be Raghib ‘Rocket’ Ismail, who earned an estimated $18 million during his 10-year NFL career and lost nearly all of it on multiple failed business ventures. Some of these investments included a theme restaurant called Rock N’ Roll Café, an inspirational religious movie, a music label “COZ Records”, a phone-card dispensing company, among others.
While Ismail may seem like an extreme case, many NFL players will get in over their heads and begin multiple projects before seeing any profits. Another example of poor investing belongs to Johnny Unitas, who was a Superstar Quarterback in the 1950s. His investments in a bowling alley chain during the 1960s were less than profitable, as were his estate deals in Florida, a failed restaurant partnership and a company that made circuit boards, for which creditors were attempting to collect nearly $4 million in loans from Unitas.
The most recent and well-known example of an NFL player filing for bankruptcy would be Michael Vick, and he is the perfect case of losing it all because of bad behavior. Vick’s involvement in an illegal dog-fighting ring landed him in jail for 23 months, forcing him to forfeit his $130 million contract as well as about $7 million a year in endorsements. Vick had no choice but to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008, citing debt of $10 to $50 million. Luckily for Vick, his career is not over, and after his release from prison he joined the Philadelphia Eagles.
As you can see, a broken contract can immediately send an athlete into financial distress. A short-lived career can also land an athlete in hot financial waters, as they can only earn about $1 million in salary in their earlier years. Once you remove taxes and cost of living, a lot of athletes aren’t really “retiring,” they’re just leaving the sports world. Add in the athlete’s possibly limited work skills and a narrow business-sense and it’s easy to see how many NFL players find themselves bankrupt in just a few short years. If you’ve found yourself in financial distress and are considering bankruptcy, please contact an experienced Brownsville bankruptcy attorney
Jeff Davis is the Owner of the Davis law firm and a highly experienced Brownsville bankruptcy attorney. To find out more information about a Rio Grande Valley bankruptcy lawyer, please visit www.jeffdavislawfirm.com.