Financial writer Michelle Singletary reported over the weekend that former NFL star Warren Sapp has filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
Sapp was best known for quarterbacking the Houston Oilers in the days before the franchise moved to Tennessee.
His financial troubles — which consumed the estimated $60M in paychecks he cashed as an elite athlete — appear have a familiar cause: investment in Florida real estate. Sapp was smart though, and still has considerable holdings in his retirement accounts — which (just like yours) can’t be touched by creditors in bankruptcy court proceedings.
Only two years ago I blogged about another NFL QB going through bankruptcy — Mark Brunell of the Jaguars, who also got snagged by real estate losses.
As Singletary points out in her article, footballers hitting rough patches in the business world is nothing new — even one of the all-time greats, Johhny Unitas, filed for bankruptcy after some business deals went sour in the 1980’s.
Singletary also points out that several years ago, Sports Illustrated published a revealing article on how and why a high percentage of pro athletes end up financially ruined. The magazine calculated that by the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are dealing with financial issues. Within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are broke.
But bankruptcy isn’t a death sentence, and its not the end of the line for anyone. Certainly not for Sapp, whose filing indicates he has a salary — a monthly salary, no less of $116,000! Sapp is a commentator on the NFL Network premium pay cable station.
By Doug Beaton