ESPN: “30 For 30” ‘Broke: How Millionaire Athletes End Up Broke’

Oct 7, 2012

A 2009 Sports Illustrated article reported that 60 percent of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. And after two years of retirement, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress. (You can read Pablo Torre‘s piece from the SI Archives – click HERE.)

From the new ESPN Series “30 For 30,” here’s director Billy Corben’s contribution ‘Broke: How Millionaire Athletes End Up Broke.’ (This is the entire 1:27 film so when you start the video, click the Full Screen icon in the lower right corner of the video screen to take it all in.)
We understand the NFLPA is objecting to some statements made by reporter Darren Rovell in the movie. (Read about their statement on B&C – click HERE.)
EDITOR’S NOTE (Oct. 10, 2012): We just added an interview to the end of this post from radio program Sports Unplugged with Broke director Billy Corben discussing more background on what he learned during the making of his film.



6 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Dr. Nelson Vetanze
    October 8th, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Dr Ventanze


    I have been reading this wonderful blog for several months now and emphatically appreciate its existence and content- Thank You!

    I am a chiropractor in Colorado who began treating NFL players in 1974 and continue to see numerous players, inactive, active and retired.

    I was team chiropractor for the Broncos in 1998 so I have had close affiliation with player treatment procedures and outcomes.

    3 years ago, the NFL decided to illegally rule that no benefits were to be paid for chiropractic services during training camp and no benefits 2 days before or after a game, making the assumption that any condition was work-related – yet no Workmen’s Comp claim was filed so the player had to see an MD, take drugs or see the training staff. Or pay for treatment personally even though they pay for the insurance coverage. Sound like the NFL? Thought so!

    So two plus years ago, I sued them, accusing them of illegal activity in regards to cutting and restricting player benefits. They of course tried to claim ERISA to get the suit dismissed but as of today, the lawsuit proceeds as my lawyer keeps winning motions and as the NFL continues to be uncooperative.

    I can only hope for the best against the BIG gorilla but so far, so good.

    Why do I share this with you?

    Well, after reading your blog, treating numerous active and retired players and recently speaking with Don Horn and Otis Armstrong about their debilitating injuries, the nausea I experienced about YOUR collective mistreatment/poor treatment over the years, compounded by you being constantly cheated out of your benefits at EVERY level finally reached regurgitation levels!

    So now, after sharing, I feel better!

    I know this might not impact you directly, but indirectly these active patients will become inactive and retired and the cycle of abuse and questionable tactics by the gorilla will continue unless you continue to be active and put pressure on the system that continues to treat you so unfairly.

    God Bless and I hope no one was offended by my comments.

    Dr. Nelson Vetanze

  2. Ron Pritchard
    October 8th, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Ron Pritchard

    Thank you Dr. Vetanze,

    It is men like you who will continue to expose the immoral and unethical practices of the NFL toward the pre-93 players concerning their health. Yesterday I told my wife that I was in constant pain of some sort throughout my body. With five knee surgeries, elbow surgery, foot surgery,shoulder surgery, broken and dislocated fingers and concussions, I should hurt. Now I know some of this pain is just old age. I am 65 now and played in the NFL for 9 years! I received a lot more punishment from my chosen career than most non-NFL 65-year old men. I say that to say this: The NFL – the greatest league and greatest brand name in the world – wants to forget me and guys like me who built that league.

    In the year 2025, the projected income to the NFL will be 25 billion dollars! They’re going global with their product which will almost triple their income which was $9.3 billion last year. Yet they feel no responsibility toward the health problems of the pre-93 players. We have had to fight for everything with them. They are not at all reluctant to give the current players millions of dollars which in my opinion, is buying and burying the NFLPA now and in the future. They don’t want the present players coming after them like we are doing now through litigation.

    The glory of our country was purchased from the lives and injuries of past brave soldiers and their commitment to be free people. The glory of the NFL lies in the past and present great players who keep the NFL alive and well and always will. It’s always been about the players! No players, no NFL! The cost to the owners of the NFL to care for the ex-players is nothing compared to the profits they have received now and always will! Shame on you, NFL owners, for missing the opportunity to do the right thing with these guys which would only make you look really good!

    Ron Pritchard
    Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals
    1969 – 1977

  3. Gregg Bingham
    October 9th, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Gregg Bingham

    Pritch –

    I hear ya, brother. And keep pounding the table!

    “…played in the NFL for 9 years.”

    and if you didn’t have that knee injury you would have made 14 years! Pritch… it was you who was first dubbed “The Manster”!

    Good luck, buddy, and keep downing those damn Advil. Try liquid gels for faster relief – it works for me!

    Gregg Bingham
    Houston Oilers
    1973 – 1984

  4. Larry Kaminski
    October 10th, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Larry Kaminski


    This comment does not fall under any of the issues we’re dealing with here as former players but I want to pass my condolences to the Karras Family for the loss of Alex.

    Any time we lose a brother who gave his best on the gridiron, it is a loss for all.

    Larry Kaminski
    Denver Broncos
    1966 – 1973

  5. Ron Pritchard
    October 10th, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Ron Pritchard Bengals

    Hi Gregg –

    Good to hear from you!

    We all need to put skin in this ongoing battle against the bad guys. Hope all is well with you and yours.

    You are my linebacker brother, you know!!

    Ron Pritchard
    Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals
    1969 – 1977

  6. Tom Beer
    October 11th, 2012 at 5:54 am #

    Tom Beer

    I watched the ESPN ’30 for 30′ presentation of broke professional athletes with great interest. For a former player who played back in the late 60’s and early 70’s I never had to worry about blowing through millions of dollars. No posses, no entourages, no groupies, no family sponges.

    Looking back, I guess there was poetic justice in making $30,000 per season.

    Tom Beer
    Denver Broncos, New England Patriots
    1967 – 1973