Phillip Buchanon warns rookies not to let their families exploit them

AP

As a first-round pick in the 2002 NFL draft, Phillip Buchanon signed a multimillion-dollar contract. And his mom decided that his payday should be her payday, too.

Buchanon has written a book detailing the mistakes he made as a young man whose mom demanded $1 million, which she said was payback for raising him. Now Buchanon has also agreed to speak at the annual NFL rookie symposium, where he’s encouraging rookies not to let their families exploit them, the way he did.

“When I got to the NFL, I was all dollars and no sense,” Buchanon writes on his blog. “I am here at the NFL Rookie Symposium to make sure that these NFL rookies don’t make the same mistakes that I did. I wish I had better mentors and I wish I had the right people around me. That would have impacted my career early on, no doubt.”

Buchanon says he’s encouraging rookies to invest their NFL money wisely so that it lasts the rest of their lives.

“I want them to make sure it’s permanent money. I don’t want them to blow it all, and next thing you know, it’s gone. Determine the difference between wants and needs for yourself and wants and needs from your family,” Buchanon writes.

The sad truth is, some of the rookies Buchanon is addressing at the symposium will make millions of dollars in the NFL and blow it all, often with large gifts to family members. But perhaps some will listen to Buchanon’s warning and save the money they make in their 20s so it will last until they’re in their 80s.

58 responses to “Phillip Buchanon warns rookies not to let their families exploit them

  1. There’s a pretty good 30 for 30 called “Broke”, I think, which deals with this subject for professional sports in general.

    It’s really interesting. You hear a guy is broke and you assume he just blew all his money on stupid stuff, but it sounds like every distant relative, neighbor, family friend and former high school buddy comes out of the woodwork, and it’s not a simple matter of people “demanding” money. Guys talk about parties, dinners with large numbers of people (who may or may not have been invited) and other stuff where people just assume the “rich pro athlete” is going to pay for everything.

    That’s tough, because the people around you aren’t looking out for you, and you basically have to alienate yourself from everyone in order to make sure you take care of yourself.

  2. Sad and unfortunate situation from Buchanon. I dont doubt the hangers on that think that its their money too. Sounds like his “family and friends” had no shame asking him for money.

    Personally ive seen it firsthand where people at a casino just asking you because they talk to you ask for money, with no shred of guilt, so they can “get in the game”.

  3. “Rookies should immediately take 2/3rds of their money and lock it into a conservative investment that they cannot touch for 10 years.”

    What 21-year-old is going to do something like that? Come on, get real. 99% of the rookies would never put 2/3rds of their money somewhere that makes it inaccessible to them.

  4. Don’t hold your breath waiting for these guys to behave responsibly. They’re young … suddenly rich … and the money is never going to stop flowing.

  5. What a pathetic excuse for a mother. It’s pretty sad when the people who are supposed to love you and watch out for you the most (especially your MOM!) end up being your worst enemies. I could see if it was some friends or your “posse” trying to milk you out of your money, but your own mother DEMANDING at least a million dollars as repayment for simply raising you? There’s no words to even describe how sick that is. Pathetic, disgusting, despicable, etc doesn’t even BEGIN to describe how horrible that is.

  6. “permanent money” is a darn good way to think about it.

    Also a good point about having good people around you. If the only people around you only have their hands out, dump them. Family, friend, old coach, whatever. Dump them.

  7. Nothing wrong with buying the folks a decent house or a car or paying off their loans but stop there. Don’t become the family ATM machine and make sure you are financially stable first because the next contract may not happen. Handle some of the bills when they become old/feeble so they don’t have to worry but I would have an issue if they expect payment or go on spending sprees with the intent to get the kid to pay. Friends and posses should not be funded. Some parents just look at their kids as an investment. They get them involved in sports and encourage practice in the hopes of cashing in down the road. That is a shame.

  8. Kudos to him to share his experience. Aot of people are embarassed when they are exposed and taken advantage of. A Pro football player has an average carreer of just under three years …take advantage of it while you can because like life….nothing lasts forever…….

  9. Philip is a wise man. Hopefully Tyron Smith speaks as well about greedy family members. I’ll never have the type offbeat these players are getting but I hate to read such awful stories about them going broke due to greedy family and friends. They are the people you’re supposed to trust the most.

    A fraternity brother of mine hit it big in the dot com era of the late 90s. His family demanded he buy them cars and houses and expensive trips around the world. Now they still have the homes and all he’s left and he’s stuck sharing an apartment with a friend. They don’t talk anymore. Damn

  10. Seems a sad story across all sports with guys like Ryan Howard and Jack Johnson getting hosed by their families as well. The leagues ought to set up an (optional) financial plan for these guys to participate in.

  11. I wonder how many Rams players are having money issues since the team started mandating financial counseling before signing their rookie contracts?

  12. v2787 says:
    Jun 23, 2015 12:18 PM
    “Rookies should immediately take 2/3rds of their money and lock it into a conservative investment that they cannot touch for 10 years.”

    What 21-year-old is going to do something like that? Come on, get real. 99% of the rookies would never put 2/3rds of their money somewhere that makes it inaccessible to them.
    _________________________________

    A 21 year old who hears horror stories and then get a financial advisor might. That’s the whole point of having people like Phillips talk to them…

  13. v2787 says:
    Jun 23, 2015 12:18 PM
    “Rookies should immediately take 2/3rds of their money and lock it into a conservative investment that they cannot touch for 10 years.”

    What 21-year-old is going to do something like that? Come on, get real. 99% of the rookies would never put 2/3rds of their money somewhere that makes it inaccessible to them.
    ———————-
    There are some players who were intelligent enough to graduate with good grades from a four-year university. A few of them took Economics courses. Those particular 21-year-olds might do something like that.

  14. Please don’t forget that these young men are setting a large portion of there earnings aside; it is called federal and state withholding, social security tax, FICA, union dues, agent fees and the like. The only advice I would give is avoid debt at all costs; when the career ends it will be very hard to pay it off.

  15. Many of these young men and their families have never owned property or had a job above minimum wage. The sudden appearence of treasure is beyond their capacity to understand that it has a finite life span if not invested and protected. Expensive cars, gigantic houses, homies, relatives who leech, and the strip club life style rob them of it quickly. Colleges are responsible for educating these athletes which most of us know does not happen. The football factories use them, then discard them. Schools like ND, Stanford, BC and a few others prepare these kids but sadly most do not. The state school system of Florida is a prime example.

  16. when your father is a millionaire,its pretty easy to learn how 2 save money.last week the Gronks donated 60G in equipment for 2 youth football camps! Thanks Gordy,dosent go unnoticed.

  17. Perhaps the teams should provide each player with a manager who controls the cash.

    This is not just the NFL it is life what 21 year old has a clue what to do with that kind of cash?

    They are going to live forever play forever and to them its like candy.

  18. Sorry but I have little sympathy for Buchanon as he was a prima donba & locker-room cancer when he was with the Raiders. Also a bad CB who frequently got burned and a liability on the field. It still makes me feel ill to think that the Raiders passed on selecting Ed Reed in the 2002 draft in favor of this slug.

    Call me cynical but it now looks like Buchanon is looking to make a fast buck by playing the ‘mistreated by family’ card.

  19. Using Gronk as an example is annoying. Yes, he’s been very smart with his money if what he says is true. But there are only a few guys in the NFL who make the kind of money he makes on endorsements. The majority of guys have never been in a commercial & definitely don’t have the NFL contract he has. They should be having a guy speak who didn’t make millions but maybe several hundred thousand about how he stretched it & made it grow. That’s another lesson. Not just how not to blow it all on flashy things, but how to make your money grow.

  20. There’s a psychological element to all this: The kids that come from highly dysfunctional families (like – apparently – the Buchanon family) are always going to have this problem, simply by virtue of the fact that other family members (and friends) are as dysfunctional as they are. Loving, supportive families tend to produce loving, supportive self-sufficent people with a strong sense of self. Dysfunctional familes don’t.

    In saying this I’m not judging anybody – I come from a highly dysfunctional family, I’ve had social, financial, and psychological difficulties throughout my own life. So I can truly appreciate what it has taken for Buchanon to pull himself up out of that mire, take charge of his own life, and want to help others as well. More power to him.

  21. It has to be tough enough to have “friends,” cousins, second cousins, aunts, and uncles you didn’t even know existed suddenly begging for money, but, imagine if your own mom behaves in this manner. Talk about dysfunction!

  22. It’s just money and you can’t take it with you. Most of these guys aren’t going to live long enough to collect Social Security. The life of a professional football player statistically means a shorter life expectancy than your average person.

  23. Good advice, but I get tired of people acting like this is a unique situation to football players or athletes. Go see how many lottery winners go broke. Go check out how many people in this country drown in debt and never can figure it out. Just because you make millions doesn’t mean you become wise with money. Either you value it and know how to plan or you don’t. That goes for Joe Blow or Mr. Athlete.

  24. “A fool and his money are soon parted” and we have heard hundreds or thousands of these fools speak over the decades and they all end up broke.

    It’s up to them, not the teams, not the NFL. They work and it’s their money to do with as they please. If they want to blow it on a purple car with big gold rims (my former Colts neighbor drove that) so be it.

    If they want to blow it on strippers and limos then so be it (another of my former Colts neighbors did that). He now works 40 hrs a week in a factory making car parts. But he has the memories!

    Most players will never get rich playing ball. Most don’t have any other skills to fall back on after playing. Some have fine educations and good families but many do not. You hand them 300k and they think they will never be able to spend it all. They ask what the payment is on the SUV and think they can buy 20!

    It’s sad but you can’t be responsible for someone else. It doesn’t work.They have to do it for themselves.

  25. When i hear about how these pro atheletes get/allow themselves to be preyed on by “gimme gimme” family and friends, I am so glad I have my “normal” life.

    I value my family and would hate to see $$$ screw that up.

    No thank you.

  26. theflyingelvis says:
    Jun 23, 2015 12:28 PM

    What a pathetic excuse for a mother.
    =============================
    Yes, that is pathetic. But at the same time, I’d think that any son that just signed a huge contract like that would already be planning to ‘take care’ of his mother for the rest of her life.

    So the demand and expectation on her part is pathetic. But if he was unwilling to provide for her, sans demand, he’d be just as pathetic.

  27. Momma demanded a million bucks for raising him……..Momma’s got a lot of balls

  28. vbe2 says:
    Jun 23, 2015 2:20 PM

    “I’d think that any son that just signed a huge contract like that would already be planning to ‘take care’ of his mother for the rest of her life.

    So the demand and expectation on her part is pathetic. But if he was unwilling to provide for her, sans demand, he’d be just as pathetic.”

    If “provide for her” means to see to it that she has everything that she needs and at least some of what she wants, I would agree. But if it means supplying her every whim, no matter how exorbitant or expensive, that’s when the words “No,” and “Get a job” come in handy. The latter seems to have been more applicable in Buchanon’s case.

  29. Now Buchanon’s mom was a leech, no doubt.
    But if I thought my kid was a risk to blow it all, I might push for him to give me a mil. Then later when he blows it all and learns the lesson, I’d give it back.

  30. …lets not forget, even if these guys are stupid with their money , they ARE supporting our economy. Car co’s…Real estate brokers & sellers of homes, start up co’s that may or may not fail, gifting $4 to friends and family who in turn will spend it and support the economy. It’s ALL GOOD! Who cares if they don’t save it…that’s not mine or anyone elses problem.

  31. The rookie symposium should be mandatory BEFORE any contracts are signed. At the time that the symposium is now, these kids have already signed their contracts and blown a good share of their signing bonus. Very few are paying any attention as they have already gotten the cash. Move the date of the symposium to right after the draft so that maybe some of these kids will listen.

  32. numberoneinthehoodg says:
    Jun 23, 2015 12:42 PM
    Any questions?

    How much does the NFL match on my 401k?

    Next question
    ———————————————————————
    My guess is that the players aren’t considered employees of the NFL, so are ineligible for an NFL-sponsored 401k. The players may, however, qualify for a pension.

  33. You’d think that a Pro-athlete would have taken care of his Mom (so long as she didn’t come in with her list of demands) such that by hiving off some of his wages each year, especially as his contracts grew, she’d never have to worry about money again. But no, she had to chisel off a big chunk in his early years before his contracts got larger…. Some Mom she is….

    Kudos to this young man for speaking to the Rookies such that they don’t get conned out of their salaries.

  34. Better to hear about the pitfalls from someone that came from a similar situation AND actually experienced the financial loss. Comparing him to Gronkowski who didn’t want for much coming up and has no reason to support family and friends wouldn’t hold their attention. Now having his old man come in and speak on business might be good.

  35. I’m an NFL player’s mother. The key is to make sure the rookie player gets a good agent that puts them on a budget that teaches them to live within a establish budget. The rest of their money is put in a money market or some other financial plan. A parents job is to guide them not to make them feel guilty about being successful.

  36. What about the thousands of athletes that lose their money with financial gurus who have Ivy League education??? Any word on that? Biggest crooks in the world are on Wall Street.

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