Divorce, support, other matters: Problems persist for some athletes

Perhaps the first thing that all newly signed professional athletes should do — actually, should arguably be required to do and certainly in advance of entering into marriage, buying a house, investing in a business or executing marketing contracts — is participate with full energy and focus in a financial workshop aimed toward helping them keep their money over the long term.

We have seen how hard that is to do for many pro athletes. Indeed, some of our blog posts have duly reported the stories of a number of current and former players — many with a Georgia connection, such as Terrell Owens, Allen Iverson and Antoine Walker — who somehow lost much or all of their career earnings and ended in on the wrong side of a high-asset divorce matter. Some become embroiled in child custody matters. Others end up in child support disputes that, upon first reading, seem nearly inexplicable given the amount of money those athletes earned during their playing days.

“These are talented people, but with very little expertise in financial matters,” notes one business professor who does offer financial workshops for professional athletes.

“You take a 20-year-old and given them millions of dollars,” she says. “Often there is very little guidance given to them.”

Which is why readers often hear the flip side of what happened to a star’s staggering amount of wealth 10 or 15 years later.

The stories persist, and the list goes on. Earlier this year, for example, and again in Georgia, former football star Jamal Lewis filed for bankruptcy in federal court. At one point, early in his career, Lewis signed a multi-year $35.3 million contract and owned a fleet of 200 commercial trucks operating out of Georgia and Florida

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Jamal Lewis among star athletes to land in bankruptcy,” Jean Marbella, June 6, 2012

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