If you are a sports fan, you know the NFL Players Association and NFL Owners cannot come to a collective bargaining agreement, and players are essentially out of work until a new deal is in place.

The NFLPA has been warning players for two years that a lockout was possible, and that they should save accordingly so they can support themselves financially during the lockout. Unfortunately, it looks like many players didn’t heed that advice.  Up to 30% of players are taking out high interest, short term loans to cover their expenses until an agreement is reached and they start getting paid again.

call the wambulanceBoo hoo. Call the wambulance.

As you may know, I have no problem with athlete salaries. (or teacher salaries for that matter) I also have no problem with these high interest loans. Heck, if I had enough money to offer a big loan with a super high interest rate to someone that I have good reason to believe is going to be paid millions of dollars in the next few months (the lockout will end before the season starts, mark my words), I’d be on the phone with as many NFL players as possible offering up my services.

Let’s look at the facts:

  • The minimum NFL salary is $340,000 a year, and some make tens of millions a year. The only reason any NFL player (even those making the minimum) would need a loan to pay his bills is if he has made bad decisions.
  • The players have known a lockout was a possibility for years. Their own union did everything they could to encourage players to save money in case they found themselves in today’s situation.
  • The union will pay players up to a maximum of $60,000 to help them cover expenses, with payments starting at the end of this week. Once again, the only way $60k doesn’t cover your bills is if you’ve been spending like an idiot.
  • NFL players are adults. The youngest NFL player ever was 20 when he played his first game. Most players are at least 21 or 22 before they enter the league. If they aren’t smart enough to handle their own money, or pay someone to do it for them, it is their own fault.

We love to pass off blame in our society. You could argue that it’s the owners’ faults for not providing players with financial advisers. You could argue that the union should have done more to prepare them for the lockout. You could argue that these predatory lenders are evil for taking advantage of people in a bad situation.

I’m not buying it. Every NFL player is an adult. He is responsible for his financial decisions. If he wasted his money, that was his decision. If someone offers him a loan at 25% APR and he takes it, that is his decision.

The players not victims of NFL owners, lenders, or anyone else. These NFL players are only victims of their own actions.

What do you think? Would you give an NFL player a high interest loan if you had the money? Are these lenders “bad guys”?