Every few weeks another story pops up about a former NFL player who made millions of dollars and has now lost all of it. And every time, fans wonder: How in the world can anyone blow that much money? A new documentary is attempting to answer that question.
Broke, the latest installment of ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series which premieres on Tuesday night, features the stories of dozens of pro athletes who wasted millions of dollars, including former NFL receiver Andre Rison, former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar and former NFL linebacker Keith McCants. I watched an advance version of the documentary, and the basic answer to the question of how you can blow that much money is: Very easily.
Kosar talks about how he trusted his father to take care of his money, and his father simply had no concept of how to properly invest millions of dollars. Rison boasts that he’d go to a club and spend tens of thousands of dollars, making sure everyone in the room knew that he was the rich guy. McCants says that when you’re a drug addict like him, more money just means more problems.
McCants has spoken several times about how money fueled his addiction, to such an extent that he thinks he would have been better off if he had never been rich.
“I wish I had never had any money,” McCants told the Tampa Tribune last year. “I would’ve been great without money. It’s a sad story, but it’s a true story. Money destroyed everything around me and everything I care for, my family, my so-called friends. I just want enough to live on. I never want to be rich again.”
Watching Broke, I wouldn’t go so far as to say I wouldn’t want to be rich, but I will say I wouldn’t want to be rich with absolutely no financial sense, which describes many professional athletes. The NFL and the players’ union have tried with programs like the rookie symposium to teach 20-something millionaires how to some day be 40-, 50-, 60- and 70-something millionaires, but a whole lot of those players don’t get the message.