Unfortunately, professional athletes going broke after their playing days are over is a common occurrence.
Players either believe the money will last forever, or they trust nefarious characters to manage their funds.
The latter is what happened to retired running back Clinton Portis, and he almost did something foolish.
Portis lay in wait for one of the crooked managers with a gun in his car. Luckily for Portis, he didn’t go through with committing murder.
Former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis contemplated killing one of his former financial managers after losing millions of dollars in various investments, helping to wipe out part of his NFL fortune.
In a story published by Sports Illustrated, Portis recounted a night four years ago in which he sat in a car outside a building, holding a gun and awaiting one of the managers he felt had ruined him financially. Portis had made $43.1 million in his nine-year NFL career, but most of it had either been spent or lost through investments or, as one lawsuit asserted, bank withdrawals without his consent.
An anonymous friend, a television producer who had been trained as a family therapist, talked him out of committing murder. But Portis said he went there, sitting in his car late at night outside a building in Washington, D.C., with one purpose.
“It wasn’t no beat up,” Portis told Sports Illustrated. “It was kill.”
The story does not specify whom Portis was awaiting that night in 2013, saying he was looking for one of several managers who had handled his funds.
But Portis told the publication that if he had seen the person before settling down, “We’d probably be doing this interview from prison.”
Portis had filed multiple lawsuits against financial adviser Jeff Rubin and his associates from 2011 to 2013, focused in part on a $1 million investment in a southern Alabama casino. Also, according to Sports Illustrated, the suit contends that Rubin’s company opened an account for Portis at Bank Atlantic with a forged signature. That led to withdrawals of more than $3.1 million without Portis knowing, according to the suit. He lost more money in a Ponzi scheme by Success Trade Securities that Portis says he was talked into by another manager, Jinesh Brahmbhatt.
The former managers lost their privileges to work in the financial sector but didn’t face prosecution, which made Portis furious.
“No jail time, no nothing,” Portis told Sports Illustrated. “Living happily ever after.”
Portis’ financial plight became public in 2015 when he filed for bankruptcy. At the time, his debts included $500,000 owed to his mom — he told Sports Illustrated that an adviser had taken out a loan against the home without his consent. Portis sold homes in Virginia and Florida at a loss. He admitted to Sports Illustrated that he liked to spend quite a bit on houses, cars and women.
“Portis was on a different level,” Santana Moss, who played with Portis in Washington, told Sports Illustrated about his spending habits. “He didn’t think about tomorrow.”
Portis last played in 2010, retiring as the Redskins’ second all-time rusher behind Hall of Famer John Riggins. Portis rushed for 9,923 yards during his career. He is eligible for up to $1.5 million of the NFL’s $1 billion concussion settlement.
But in order to receive that money, Portis, who missed the final eight games of 2008 with a concussion, must be tested for early signs of dementia. Portis said he doesn’t want to do that because, “I’m really scared of the results.”
Portis now lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Virginia and, among other jobs, helps with Redskins television broadcasts in the preseason. He told the magazine he has found a peace with his life.
“Most people would have offed themselves if they had to deal with what I had to deal with,” he said. “Life is so much clearer after coming out of that storm.”
The cruel irony of professional sports is players are at their peak value when they know the least about finances and responsible money management.
The situation is exacerbated by the unscrupulous jackals waiting to lend their financial “services.”
Hopefully, Portis’ candid story can serve as a cautionary tale for future players who don’t take the time to learn proper fiscal responsibility.
And luckily for Portis, he didn’t ruin his life by going to prison for murder. He still has a chance to turn things around.