January 28, 2006

Missing the tackle on Reality : After the NFL glory days, a lot of players find the adjustment to real life pretty tough.

posted by roberts to football at 06:10 AM - 13 comments

When the article mentions how few former NFL players have any marketable skills, I can't help but recall how many people I heard say skipping their senior year in college is a good idea. The problem isn't with former NFL players, it is with college and high school football programs that move future nfl players through without giving them any marketable skills.

posted by texoma-slim at 08:41 AM on January 28, 2006

That is so true. I might add a players level of intelligence is directly proportional to what their major was in collage. What makes a pro think they can be successful in business if they have only studied underwater basket weaving? The pros who try and fail at acting grows every year. As for broadcasting Shannon Sharp surprised me and of course there are others that are just awful Micheal Irvine for one.

posted by kosmicdebris at 09:13 AM on January 28, 2006

I tend to believe this problem is not only with former NFL players...but also former NBA & MLB players also...in the "old days" players had to work a "real job" in the offseason...

posted by phillyolhead at 09:38 AM on January 28, 2006

how about boxers? (leon spinks, mike tyson to just name a few recent crash landings) The way i see it, most of these guys were coddled by their schools, peers, and parents most of their lives, given special priveleges, not had to do the same work for the same grade, etc. etc. and if they can not make it in the real world, to bad so sad. Marketable skills? not necessary for coal miners, oil field workers, truck drivers, etc. If you did not take advantage of your scholarship, get a job like everyone else. Suckered into bad investments? Try working for your money and you will not be so eager to let someone else make you an "easy dollar". Divorce? Ya married the wrong bitch, or screwed up a good thing. Loss of celebrity status? cut me a F****** break. welcome to the real world,ex pro jocks. If you did not take advantage of the perks, i don't wanna hear you cry.

posted by mjkredliner at 10:41 AM on January 28, 2006

Did anyone watch the player interviews during the college bowl games? The referances to the player's college major were a good indicator of what our colleges are promoting for their athletes.A lot of these kids who are not good enough to make it to the pros will be able to find a good job somewhere. Shovelling manure.

posted by Jaundiced Eye at 11:03 AM on January 28, 2006

Wow. So much sensitivity to a real issue. Marketable skills? not necessary for coal miners, oil field workers, truck drivers, etc. Those are actually good definitions of marketable skills. Others include the ability to sell things, to work with computers, to be able to bring projects to completion, carpentry, cooking, being a good host, or being able to lead other people, whether in an office, a shop floor, a fitness gym or a classroom. Pro athletes tend to be less prepared for the outside world, specifically because there's so much money at the top of the pyramid that they basically bet their entire lives on making it. Which they kind of have to do; there are so many people jockeying for those spots at the top of the food chain that if you don't put your entire life on the line (and the lives of a fairly wide support system) then you've lost the battle for success before you start. mjkredliner, you've known through your entire life that you were probably not going to hit the jackpot, right? You've been preparing for a life in the land of work-for-a-paycheck. (I'm guessing. If I'm wrong, well, bear with me.) Pro athletes haven't and if you want to be a pro athlete, you haven't either. I'm not saying it's right. I'm saying that maybe you should rent a movie like Hoop Dreams and see what sacrifices have to be made by anyone trying to make it. Even if you're a phenom in college, even if you actually get drafted by a big-money pro league, there are still no guarantees. You don't need to feel sympathetic. But understand how severely these athletes have to contort the way they treat the world, not to mention the way the people in their world treat them, for even a shot at the shoe deal. (And many of us have "married the wrong bitch." No social class has a monopoly on that.) I think if we saw stories about places like GamesOver and people like Duval Love and John Michels more often, you might be more willing to see them as human beings who've had to live a single-minded lifestyle their entire lives just to achieve the modest success they've seen, and maybe you'd even cut them a F****** break.

posted by chicobangs at 11:24 AM on January 28, 2006

divorce is not restricted to any social status, no, nor did i infer that it is. neither is the loss of the ability to do the job of one's choice due to injury,ask osha. neither is the prospect of having your income slashed, ask thousands of downsized workers. nor is the prospect of losing "such perks as free meals and support staff", (free meals at their salary levels are hardly necessary). If "loss of name recognition" and "loss of celebrity status" are so hard to deal with, seek counseling.My point, mr. chicobangs, is that they deal with no more hardships than the rest of us working stiffs, and yeah, i can empathize, but not sympathize, with their problems. They have , for the most part, had an easier row to hoe than the rest of us, and the fact that professional athletic careers are usually very short is not breaking news. plan ahead, like the rest of us do, is what i am suggesting. And get over "the loss of celebrity status", please.

posted by mjkredliner at 12:31 PM on January 28, 2006

And my point was that many of these people didn't come from places where college was even an option. A professional sports career was all they knew how to strive for, and to succeed, you can't think in terms of three year careers. And unless you have someone farsighted in your entourage (and a lot of these people come from families and situations where there's never been a dollar to invest, which is why they work so hard to make it in sports in the first place), then the odds of winding up at loose ends after the playing days end go up. And it can be jarring. The point of the article was that when you're coming from nothing and you & everyone you know is pushing for one goal and one goal only, there are some questions you don't think to ask. What organizations like GamesOver are doing are filling those gaps in, so that these people don't fall off the table when their playing days end and they have to move from one lifestyle to a very different one. Not everyone has the gift of forethought. I don't know if you read the article, but the very thing you're complaining about with these athletes is exactly what people like Ken Ruettgers (and there are others) are trying to fix, through education, experience and advice.

posted by chicobangs at 01:13 PM on January 28, 2006

I think the link title says it all.......

posted by mjkredliner at 01:34 PM on January 28, 2006

You know, I was under the impression that the stated reason that athletes are forced to play in the immensely profitable college football programs for free was to ensure they aquired real world skills. If they aren't - if they aren't getting usable degrees and at least some basic financial and life skills from going thorough the education system - doedsn't that kind of undercut the whole idea? I wonder how many of the athletes failing now had the sports wing of their college pressuring the academics for easy grades, not to have the administration punish them for rule breaches and the like. I wonder how many would now with they hadn't been given any free passes.

posted by rodgerd at 02:34 PM on January 28, 2006

Here's a take on where some of the 84 Seahawks are now. Since it's Superbowl week and all that. The players covered in the article seem to have landed on their feet.

posted by owlhouse at 02:55 PM on January 28, 2006

rodgerd makes a good point. Also, many of these athletes come from very poor backgrounds and would probably not have gotten a high paying job anyway. If they don't know how to save some of the big bucks for the future then they should find someone trustworthy to help them do it. They should take advantage of their sports scholarships and get a degree in something that will help them get a good paying job after sports.

posted by Steeler_Fan at 03:05 PM on January 28, 2006


posted by texas713 at 04:27 PM on January 28, 2006

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