AIME ARON • THE ASSOCIATED PRESS • DECEMBER 26, 2010
The NFL and NBA players’ associations have been warning members for years to get ready for the possibility that their paychecks could evaporate in 2011. With the new year fast approaching, the unions have ratcheted up their message.
NBA players were told there’s a 99 percent chance the 2011-12 season will be disrupted. NFL players received a letter this month urging them to set aside three game checks to help carry them through a likely delay next fall.
“Your whole mind-set is different because you know that in all likelihood there will be a lockout,” Knicks guard Roger Mason said. “So I think in everything you do, from your day-to-day spending to the holidays to summer vacations, (you think about it), for sure.”
Ed Butowsky is a wealth manager who works with many pro athletes. At the invitation of the NFL and NBA, and individual teams, he’s spoken to more than 20 clubs and at rookie gatherings, explaining the threat a lockout poses and urging them to use it as an opportunity to get their finances in order.
“Are they prepared and doing things? It’s on a case-by-case basis,” said Butowsky, managing partner of Chapwood Investment Management. “Some of these people, because of their spending, are a train wreck waiting to happen. It’s not crazy spending, they just spend too much money. Throw on top of that the lockout potential and now you could have a catastrophe.”
The superstars shouldn’t have to worry about paying their bills. The athletes affected most by a lockout would be guys like Slauson — those on the low end of the salary spectrum, players on their way in or out of their league, backups or newly minted starters yet to cash in on their status.
Many realize any day could be their last as a pro athlete, so they’re always looking to save. As Kansas Chiefs fullback Mike Cox put it: “My wife and I always prepare like there’s a lockout every year.”
For New York Giants tight end Bear Pascoe, who has gone from practice squad to active roster in both of his NFL seasons, it was buying a truck and paying it off “so I won’t have to worry about it.”
Frank Zombo wasn’t drafted coming out of Central Michigan. Although he’s now a starting linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, he refuses to take anything for granted.
“There is no ‘save my last two paychecks,'” he said. “I’ve been saving everything.”