Four years later it’s still an ugly number. $44. That’s how much money Bernie Kosar had in his checking account when he filed for bankruptcy in 2009, according to court documents. It’s estimated that Bernie made $19,000,000 during his NFL career and once claimed to have made 10 times that number after his career was over.
I’ve been fascinated by this guy over the last couple months as he ran into trouble during the preseason and then his recent DUI arrest. I never rooted for Bernie growing up outside Dayton, Ohio. I was raised a Bengals fan; Bernie was the enemy. Did we feel bad for Bernie’s AFC Championship issues? Not a bit. Did we feel bad for Bernie when his knees were wrecked? A little.
He retired, made a ton of money and lived the fast life. Then it all crumbled.
I was going through some research today when I came across his 2009 bankruptcy filing. All these years later it’s mind-boggling to look at the numbers:
• $44 in his checking account
• $0 cash
• Negative balance in his Key Bank checking account
• Only sports possession was 1987 MVP trophy; his ex-wife had rest of his sports collectibles
• $1,175 in monthly income (not counting his pension)
• $15,000 a month owed in child support
• Owed $1,100 to Ricardo’s Lawn Service (nope, didn’t cut his own grass)
Why look back at documents that are four years old? Because extremely wealthy athletes keep repeating the mistakes of Bernie and others who have been horrible with their fortunes. Curt Schilling just garage sale’d his entire house all the way down to the fake plants. Warren Sapp lost his Nike collection this year during a bankruptcy sale.
Would any of us be any better? Of course you would, right? You’d never blow through $20, $30 or $40 million.
Today’s lesson: always have more money in the bank than Bernie Kosar did in 2009.