Bernie Kosar: Former QB Exposes Pitfalls of Athletes Trusting Family in 'Broke'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2012

Sep 9, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA;  Cleveland Browns former quarterback Bernie Kosar signs autographs before a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

The true shining star of the ESPN "30 for 30" re-launch film Broke, which provided a captivating glimpse into the exorbitant spending habits of all professional athletes, was former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar.

Directed by Billy Corben, who was behind The U in the first "30 for 30" series, Broke essentially piled up one ridiculous story of athlete excess after another. Players were speaking of dropping $10,000 at a nightclub. A website called Baller Alert, where women subscribe to receive alerts any time a professional athlete is at a bar or restaurant, was introduced. 

For those of us who don't make millions of dollars, it was difficult to relate to the film at times.

Most viewers could not even think about how they would spend one million dollars, let alone blow tens of millions of dollars. 

Just when Broke seemed to be nearing a Scared Straight level of preaching there was a segment with Kosar, whose story proved to be the true heart of the film. 

Telling the heart-wrenching story of how his abusive and manipulative father swindled him out of millions, Kosar exposed the biggest pitfall for professional athletes: trusting and feeling an obligation toward family. 

At one point in the film Kosar, who was obviously emotional throughout his interview, said he knew almost from the beginning that his father was siphoning money. While the elder Kosar had used some of Bernie's money to pay for things like mortgages and car payments, it later came out that he also had a side deal with the Cleveland Browns worth $1 million. 

Nonetheless, he continued allowing his father to manage his finances. According to Bernie, the overarching reason for that decision was that he hoped beyond hope that the money could repair his childhood memories and the relationship with his father.

That yearning for a bond between family members does not exist just within athletes but is a worldwide psychological phenomenon. There are very few people reading this who would not do everything and anything to help out family members, particularly parents. 

Kosar's story, along with many of the others, exposed the sobering truth that you can't trust anybody when millions of dollars are involved—especially family.

While we have heard countless stories of "friends" using athletes, Broke exposed family figures as the biggest leeches for athlete checkbooks. Reading into some of the comments in the film, it seemed like where friends hoped to be cut in on the cash cow, even the most minor family members expected a taste of the big money.

For the viewing public, Broke was a story we have heard many times told in a new way. For athletes, the film should serve as an unfortunate lesson that there is only one person you can truly trust with your finances, and that person is staring you in the mirror.


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