I guess when you work in football, you get used to cliches. You get used to people believing certain things, and the media picking up on certain narratives and hammering them, whether they’re true or not.

One of the most common narratives in the football business is that so many athletes wind up losing their money. Often it’s because they don’t know how to manage it. Often it’s because they’re wildly irresponsible with it. Other times it’s because they trusted the wrong person.

I was emailing with a client who’s been in the business of advising athletes and helping them invest their money for several years. In the course of our email dialogue, he said a few things that I found interesting, and perhaps even surprising, even for someone as jaded and calloused to the abuses in the business as I am. On the other hand, he also said some things that made me more hopeful. I’ll pass along his thoughts, then comment on them, one by one.

  • “Financial Advisors constantly fight the Bernie Madoff reputation.  Everyone who watches TV has seen at least 1 episode of ‘American Greed’… so that’s out there.”

I love ‘American Greed,’ but I don’t know of anyone personally who’s lost millions to some charlatan. But if you think of young people trying to sort out business pitches from 10-15 financial planners, all seeming the same, you can see why the media could make you pretty nervous about everyone out there.

  • “On a good note, I am finding more families and players are more educated in the last 5 years, due to the 2008 credit crunch; numerous articles on investing scandals (like) Jade Financial, Tim Duncan, Jeff Rubin, etc.; and numerous Internet articles on players blowing their money — Antoine Walker, (Latrell) Sprewell, (Allen) Iverson, (Evander) Holyfield, (Mike) Tyson, (Bernie) Kosar, etc.”

It really is staggering to think of all the top athletes who should have known better, but don’t. After all, the stories of athletes blowing through their money or having it stolen from them are stacked up all over the Internet. But it’s good news that my friend sees the education level rising, or at least the wariness.

  • “The most important thing and sometimes (unfortunately) the only thing is- Trust.  Can the football player trust us? I’ve had 3 football clients say- “I’m so glad you’re not stealing from us.” ??? One client called me in the middle of the day 2 weeks ago . . . after reading the Tim Duncan article, and said- “Man, I’m just so fortunate to have you.  Thanks for everything.”  It was a surreal phone call, because it almost made me cry….and it was a sad commercial of what our industry has become.  And I’m not some sappy guy btw. lol”

It’s so bad in this business that many players almost expect to be stolen from. Think about that. What a sad commentary on the business.

If you’re an investor, and you’re an honest and successful and interested in the business, I hope you’ll get involved. Don’t know how? Check out ITL. Or don’t. But understand that these young men have a definite need that’s not being met.

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