What do most athletes do when they retire?…usually file for bankruptcy in the near future.
When you think about professional athletes, one of the first descriptive words to come to mind is rich. Pro athletes, by normal standards, are rich, plain and simple. They have a specialized skill in an area with limited openings so the ones that make it invariably get paid. The knock on this, however, is that the majority of these people are barely out of high school when they start making the big bucks and are surrounded by people who have their hands out at every turn.
So, when the inevitable occurs; age, injury or wash-out, and the money stops rolling in, a vast majority of these professionals are forced to file for bankruptcy.
The latest case of this growing trend is Warren Sapp.
Sapp took a great playing career and turned it into a very productive entertainment career. Sapp is an analyst on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” and the NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” and uses a brash outspoken style that snares the attention of anyone who watches. Heck, he even finished second on a season of “Dancing With the Stars” even though he has no dance skills whatsoever.
Sapp's savvy post NFL career and burgeoning fame, however wasn't enough to cover up an extravagant lifestyle that left him with a sea of debts. He currently owes more than $6.7 million to creditors and back child support and alimony, according to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing in South Florida.
The court documents detail Sapp’s $6.45 million in assets which include nearly $6,500 worth of Jordan brand shoes and a $1,200 lion skin rug. The debts far exceed what he is able to earn in his current job, which pays a monthly income of $115,881.
While Sapp's name value alone will lend a certain shock to most who read this, it isn't anything that should surprise anyone. Like it was stated above, the majority of professional athletes in the top two sports in the US–football and basketball–end up doing the same thing Sapp has done within a few years of ending their sports career.
In fact, according to Sports Illustrated, 78 percent of NFL players and 60 percent of NBA players file for bankruptcy within two years of their retirement.
Poor spending, bad judgment and no real support structure around them is usually the culprit for these inevitable bankruptcy’s. How can you really expect otherwise when you are 19-24-years-old and are suddenly handed millions of dollars for the first time in your life?
Whatever the reason, it's a sad reality for these people we place on a pedestal. A reality that could be avoided if only they had the right people surrounding them.
Photo Credit: Cliff Welch/Icon SMI