When an NFL player or former player make the news outside of football, it’s usually for one of two things. Either they’ve gotten themselves into some trouble, be it with the law or in regards to their public image, or they are the subject of a story on how they once had it all and are now barely making ends meet.
There aren’t a whole lot of courses one can take on not being stupid when it comes to social media and what they share of their personal lives to the outside world, and there isn’t a whole lot of courses one can take on how not to blow $30 million. Sure, someone can take a course on budgeting, but courses like that teach you how to make sure you can pay the electric bill each month, not how to decide if that Bugatti is right for you. And you can forget about a course on how to handle the positives and negatives of being treated like a celebrity.
That’s why the NFL instituted a transition program for all rookies be they drafted or undrafted, as well as opening it up for any player that feels they may need the course or could benefit from a refresher. The program isn’t designed to help players transition from college to the professional level, but rather how to transition from the world of being a hometown hero to a multi-millionaire overnight, and what to do when they no longer find themselves gearing up for the next season.
They are taught everything from how to handle interactions with law enforcement, to handling themselves when speaking with the CEO of a large corporation. They are taught how to budget their newfound wealth, and how to invest it so that they have enough money to carry them through their retirement years. They are taught the ins and outs of social media in today’s society and how to navigate around those who will be looking to exploit them for a quick payday. It’s not just dealing with people and money that they find themselves being immersed in, but also how to cook healthy meals, how to build good credit, and how to handle situations in public without the fear of freezing up or freaking out.
We’ve come a long way from the early days of the NFL where players were left to fend for themselves when it came to financial matters, and often would wind up hiring a crooked accountant who would take every penny they could. They didn’t have Facebook and Twitter in which they could find themselves posting a message that would get them suspended, and they didn’t have to worry about the days of cell phones that provided 24/7 news around the world in an instant.
Luckily for the players today, the NFL has tried to keep up with the changing times, but it’s up to the players to take advantage of the lessons being taught and implement them to put their future in a far better place. We talk about how we have to worry about a player’s physical health for life after football, but isn’t their financial health just as important?