Back in June, it was reported that Portis owed the IRS nearly half a million dollars. The University of Miami product made more than $43 million in his NFL career. He was not exactly a tightwad when it came to his spending, as evidenced by videos that still live on in YouTube lore. He owned as many as eight homes at one point in his career.
Most recently, Portis was working as an analyst for Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra Broadcasting station ESPN 980 during the football season.
But how Portis came upon his troubles to begin with explains a larger story of youth, wealth and trust that many athletes can likely relate to. In short, a former teammate of Portis’s from college, Rod Mack, linked him up with a group of financial advisers who did not have Clinton’s interests in mind. Various financial transactions were brokered on his credit as he tells it, which is how he ended up paying a mortgage on a house he bought outright with cash. In short, he was a young athlete who trusted the wrong people with his money and is still paying for it, literally.
On the air, Portis basically explained how Chapter 11 bankruptcy works, then proceeded to explain how he got fleeced, effectively over the course of his career. Cooley was extremely interested in the details of said investments, including a casino in Alabama, that apparently quite a few other athletes were linked to from an investment standpoint. Almost all the players involved attended the University of Miami, University of Florida or Florida State University. The whole thing feels like it’ll be a story line on HBO’s “Ballers” soon.
“People act like this is new news. That’s the other thing that’s bothering me. People act like this is new news. The casino investment came out when T.O. first came out and told you about the casino. It’s the same casino that everyone was in. Floyd Mayweather, Jamie Foxx, Terrell Owens, the list goes on of guys that were involved in this,” he said. “This is the regret, that Jeff Rubin of Pro Sports is the guy behind all of this. No one mentions Jeff Rubin, who’s the financial adviser. … He should be in jail. We’re talking about someone owing a couple million dollars, but this man has run off with $100M.”
Cooley, who made significantly less than Portis in his career, was sympathetic to his former teammate’s situation. “The list of players who have financial people that say can you get me a guy, is so long, and that list of players all involves, or 70% involves, those players really having no idea what those people are actually doing with their money,” Cooley said. “Players are very, I wouldn’t call it irresponsible, but unsure of what’s [going on.]”
Portis wasn’t smart enough to recognize a large-scale swindle, but then again, neither were nearly a dozen other NFL players. In the end, his advice for people was simple.
“As athletes. As young kids with no money, you get a lot of people that run to you and want to guide you,” Portis said. “Don’t give your money to no one, besides the bank.”