|Foote is down nearly a half million. (Getty Images)|
Terrell Owens said earlier this year that bad investments and shady financial advisors left him nearly broke after earning $80 million during his NFL career. A couple months later, he clarified that “My broke, for the normal person, is not their broke.” Semantics aside, here's the point: Professional athletes regularly find themselves the targets of swindlers and hucksters hoping to make a fast buck, and the ubiquitous long lost relative looking for a little help.
According to the Associated Press, Steelers linebacker Larry Foote claims that he's the victim of a scheme to fleece him out of some $400,000. (We'll admit it -- we reflexively wondered if Brian Jackson was involved. He wasn't.) Details via the AP:
In a lawsuit Foote's lawyer says was filed Thursday in Wayne County (Michigan) Circuit Court, Foote claims he was duped when he invested money with two defendants associated with a Dearborn Heights valet service. Foote was born in Detroit, went to Michigan and played for the Detroit Lions in 2009.
The suit claims Foote was approached in 2010 by one of the defendants, who indicated he had recently acquired major valet contracts and needed an investor to provide capital.
In addition to T.O., we noted recently that former NFL wideout Andre Rison had been sentenced to five years' probation for missed child-support payments and had been ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution. We bring this up because, as Foote's predicament confirms, these situations, while different, aren't isolated. The average NFL career is three and a half years, according to the NFLPA. Meanwhile, a 2009 Sports Illustrated report found that 78 percent of former NFL players are bankrupt or facing serious financial difficulties within two years of leaving football.
Some players go broke by spending beyond their means. Others can't keep up with the child-support payments after the steady paychecks disappear, and others are the victims of fraud.
In Foote's case, it's the latter. The takeaway: The method at which you arrive at losing large sums of money is irrelevant (whether you made it rain one time too many or were on the wrong end of a Ponzi scheme, broke is broke), which is why the NFL should have Adam Jones talking to players monthly about the consequences of fame and fortune thrust on people often not equipped to handle it.
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