Vince Young’s bankruptcy says a lot about what’s wrong with the culture of professional sports

By several indications, Vince Young isn't very bright. We've heard about the Wonderlic struggle before the 2006 NFL draft. We've heard stories of his inability to grasp NFL offenses. And now we've learned that Young, who in '06 since a contract worth nearly $26 million in guaranteed money, is broke. 

According to the Houston Chronicle, the former No. 3 overall pick has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy:

Attorney Brian Kilmer of Houston filed the petition last week in a Houston federal bankruptcy court on Young’s behalf, listing Young with estimated assets between $500,001 and $1 million and liabilities between $1,001,000 and $10 million. No specific details on Young’s assets and liabilities were immediately available.

Over the last year, Young, 30, has been locked in a pair of lawsuits stemming from a $1.8 million loan obtained in his name during the 2011 lockout.

A New York state court has granted a judgment against Young to Pro Player Funding, a New York company that made the loan, which along with interest has grown to more than $2.5 million, according to a Pro Player attorney.

Pro Player Funding has made several efforts in a Harris County state district court to enforce collection of the judgment, but those efforts remain pending.

In the wake of the New York case, Young sued a group that included his former financial adviser, Ronnie Peoples of Raleigh, N.C., and his former agent, Major Adams II of Houston, claiming that the defendants defrauded him and conspired with Pro Player Funding to obtain the loan and that Young himself never received the money in question.

Young made $34 million in his career, which spanned eight seasons in Tennessee, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Green Bay. But in addition to that, he reportedly made at least $30 million more from endorsement deals with companies like Reebok, Campbell's Soup, Madden NFL, Vizio and the National Dairy Council.

How does a grown-ass man squander over $60 million in less than a decade? This isn't the first time a sports star has found a way to throw all of his cash away, and it won't be the last. I'm not making excuses for these guys, but at some point you have to wonder if the system is stacked against them. 

To the NFL's credit, they make their prospects stay in school for three years before they're eligible to be drafted. Not many industries can do that, but very few have that much money to offer anyway. The league has also started capping entry-level salaries in quite extreme fashion, which looks like it could reduce the snowball effect guys like Young become trapped by. The annual rookie symposium should help, too.

Still, it feels as though Young was headed down this path before he became a star at the University of Texas. Maybe we have to do a better job recognizing which kids need extra attention from a life/finance standpoint before they begin their college careers. Because once they're golden gods on campus, it's arguably too late. The NFL and the NCAA should continue to brainstorm ways to get to these kids, because right now it feels as though too many of them are being churned through a machine that jeopardizes their long-term paths in order to take advantage of their short-term talents.

That is exploitation at its finest.

Again, it's possible Mack Brown, Jeff Fisher and everyone else who had a role in molding Young as a young football player did everything they could. It's possible Young is just a dumb dude who made dumb decisions. Still, we owe it to these young men to fully explore more ways in which to avoid creating more Vince Youngs.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.