Biggest Takeaways from ESPN's 30 for 30 Documentary "Broke"

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 2, 2012

Photo Credit: ESPN
Photo Credit: ESPN

It's only natural to have little sympathy for professional athletes who go broke after receiving multi-million dollar contracts in their careers, but ESPN latest 30 for 30 installment, "Broke," highlights some obstacles for athletes we never truly considered.

Some of the reasons, such as living "the baller life" after receiving your first paycheck, is still hard to understand for those who have never made near the money these athletes have.

But there are some other factors of the equation, as detailed by "Broke" on Tuesday, that make you think twice about athletes who lose vast sums of money.

One thing that stood out to me the most was when family members and friends—some of those friends should have quotation marks around them—ask for help financially.

Athletes talked about how it was difficult to simply say "no" to those you hold dear.

How do you tell a poor relative that you won't help them?

When you have the means to help someone financially, it's very easy to be too generous without realizing what it will do to your pocketbook down the line.

List of athletes who have filed for bankruptcy, via ESPN:

Every athlete on this list has filed for bankruptcy -> #Broke

— ESPN (@espn) October 3, 2012


That brings me to another issue addressed in the installment: managing your money.

Especially when it comes to pro-football players, your career—compared to the average worker in America—is much shorter.

Sure, you make way more money, but you have to plan for the future, when you are out of sports in your upper 20s or early 30s.

It's a problem of money management, something some athletes were never schooled on. You make so much money at an early age that you don't think you can ever lose it.

There's also the fact that you can never anticipate a career-ending injury. You could be the star of your sport, set to play for 10 years or more, and all of a sudden everything stops because of an injury. You never anticipate your cash flow coming to an abrupt ending.

Then you have agents and financial advisors who take advantage of you and stash money without you ever realizing it until it's too late. The people that you trust the most can sometimes be the most crippling to your financial well-being.

It's hard to feel sorry for athletes who flaunt their cash, but if you thought you had the money to buy a mansion, would you do it?

"Broke" wasn't meant to ask us to take pity on professional athletes—and there were some who didn't like it at all like Desmond Howard, but it does give us some insight. Sometimes putting ourselves in another person's shoes gives us an entirely different perspective.


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