Andre Rison’s financial woes featured in ‘Broke’


Andre Rison in the promotion of the documentary 'Broke.' Credit: Broke

Former Falcons wide receiver Andre Rison, who made at least $19.120 million in base salaries and signing bonuses over his 12-year NFL career, is among a group of retired athletes to address their financial problems in “Broke,” a ESPN documentary ESPN directed by Billy Corben scheduled to be released in October.

The documentary “digs into the psychology of men whose competitive nature carries them to victory on the field and ruin off it.”

Rison, 45, played for the Falcons from 1990-94. He caught 423 passes for 5,633 yards and 56 touchdowns over his five seasons with the Falcons. The AJC caught up with Rison back in 2009 for this “Whatever happened to.  …” story. 

Over his career, Rison made base salaries ranging from $175, 000 in 1990 to $2.8 in 1996.

He also amassed $10.84 million in signing bonus. He also likely made additional millions in reporting, workout bonuses and other incentives.

Rison declared bankruptcy in 2007 after failing to pay child support.

“Broke “is scheduled to air as part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 Vol. II film series.

Rison, a five-time Pro Bowler, had his best seasons with the Falcons and won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers.

He played in 186 games, 156 starts, 743 catches, 10,205 yards and 84 touchdowns

“Broke” is scheduled to make its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival next month, according to the festival’s Web site. Rison is standing in front of some burning money with his hands up in the air on the website.

According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. For 78 percent of NFL players, it takes only three years. Sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems, and naturally prone to showing off, most pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life. Drawing surprisingly vulnerable confessions from retired stars like Jamal Mashburn, Bernie Kosar, and Andre Rison, as well as Marvin Miller, the former executive director of the MLB Players Association, this fascinating documentary digs into the psychology of men whose competitive nature carries them to victory on the field and ruin off it.

Keepin with the SI stats, wefound out this morning that Atlanta native Jamal Lewis . has filed for bankruptcy.

Rison was indicted by a federal grand jury last year for failure to pay child support charges in Arizona and has also has been charged in past years in other child support cases in Genesee County and Georgia.

Here are the base salaries and signing bonuses that I have on Rison, according to NFLPA documents:

  • 1989 — $175,000
  • 1990 — $275,000
  • 1991 — $325,000
  • 1992 — $375,000
  • 1993 –$1,109,000
  • 1994 — $647,000
  • 1995 — $578,000
  • 1996 — $2, 800,000
  • 1997 –$600,000
  • 1998 –$500,000
  • 1999 –$400,000
  • 2000 –$500,000
  • TOTAL: $8,284,000


  • 890,000
  • 500,000
  • 1,000,000
  • 5,000,000
  • 300,000
  • 1,500,000
  • 1,350,000
  • 300,000
  • TOTAL: $10,840,000

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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130 comments Add your comment

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
11:31 am

Arod — You have to break off Uncle Sam at least one-third right off the top.


June 5th, 2012
11:33 am


Was it something I said? I was only keeping it real. Why did you delete my comments? Boo is angry now. Boo may sue.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
11:34 am

BW — Even after taxes (about 6 million) he saw about 13 million. His agents were only getting 4 percent back then. So that’s only about 1 million-plus). So he thrashed through about 12 million, give or take a million.


June 5th, 2012
11:42 am

I think, if they required athletes to finish college, many more of them would know how to handle money. Just my opinion.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
11:44 am

Boo – We’ve got standards around here. Try cleaning it up. Yours was a case of “Keeping it real, gone bad!”

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
11:48 am

Young&Mony_badmix – I don’t have his pay stubs, which would reflect take home pay. We have the NFL contracts he signed. Didn’t bother to include the Candian money from his CFL venture.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
11:50 am

D man — Good points.


June 5th, 2012
11:51 am

Not sure about the child support arrangements but they certainly was a bit more off the top. In either case yes you are correct he did squander a significant amount of money, more than most of us will see in a lifetime

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
11:51 am

Trojan — This is the Plan Parenthood blog. Sorry, double delete.


June 5th, 2012
11:54 am


I was only trying to be helpful. Just like the Allstate Mayhem Guy. By pointing out the obvious danger lurking around a young man’s wallet, I was hoping that pro athletes everywhere will be able to hang on to their money.

Don’t Shoot Me, I’m only the Piano Player,

William Smith

June 5th, 2012
12:00 pm

Look at these guys lives. They first go to high school where they are made gods. The high school pets them on everything and they are held accountable for no actions they take. Many of these guys were 5 star players and even in this paper you know they walk on water and have special articles written about them. Next stop college where they are allowed many acts of bad behavior when the average student would be booted out of school. Next stop professional sports at this level they make tremendous salaries and even charge a young kid for something as common as an autograph. Everybody bows down an worships there skills. They receive much more honor than the doctor who would cure cancer. Last stop retirement then they have to grow up. No more bow downs,hero worship or other benefits. I think they should work in a regular job and see how real people live. Just think they could not afford tickets to see there old teams play.


June 5th, 2012
12:00 pm

Double-delete! Man, that is not fair. I was only offering advice in the name of “an ounce of prevention.”

let it get away

June 5th, 2012
12:03 pm

At 20 million+ income, he no doubt netted about $14 million of that. Any reasonable rate of return over the time period that he played (the 1990s) would have doubled that $14 million to $28 million.
Subtract 8 million to live through his playing years, and you have $20 million at a draw down of 3-4% per year would have allowed him to withdraw/spend about $800k a year… INDEFINITELY. And, BTW, we don’t have an estimate for how much they made in endorsements… which might be as much as their base salary!

The financial acumen of these athletes is horrible.

watching from the bleachers

June 5th, 2012
12:07 pm

You can’t fix stupid, but you can make a TV show about it.


June 5th, 2012
12:14 pm

I had the pleasure of serving Mr. Rison at Deion’s Club 21 back in the early 90’s. He ordered a bottle of Moet Chandon White Star for $47. He paid for is with 2 twenties, a 5 and 8 quarters! No tip! He was always wanting to be hooked up for free drinks because he thought he was important. He may have been a decent athlete, but in my book, he’s loser!


June 5th, 2012
12:16 pm

Really can’t feel sorry for a “playa” and one of the all time “look at me” guys. I’ve made mistakes myself but not because of feeling the need for an entourage, multiple houses and multiple cars. Curt Schilling is reported as having $50 million in the bank when he retired and now he’s broke. Bad investments he says. Who needs to make investments when you start off with $50 million? As a whole athletes never have been known for their brains.

Misty From Macon

June 5th, 2012
12:30 pm

I think they should work in a regular job and see how real people live. Just think they could not afford tickets to see there old teams play.

some of these guys came from poor neighborhoods and poor families. I’m sure they already know how the “real people live”.

Also, for all of the people on here “dogging” Rison, what about when good old boy, hard working, multiple young blonde marrying, NON-athletic Ed McMahon wound up broke and was almost evicted from his mansion? (Trump saved him by buying it and letting him continue to live in it). Didn’t hear a lot of “He Was An Arrogant Azz & deserved it!” comments then.

If this wasn’t georgia, I’d “almost” be amazed by them.

I usually just read but....

June 5th, 2012
12:33 pm

Bet he’s still got a ride with some gansta 23’s or 24’s. Proly 4 or more 15″ woofers pushed by a 1500 watter.blasting out some cop killing, woman demeaning rap while his childern suffer and he trips out as a thug wannabe.

Matty Ryanunyabizness

June 5th, 2012
12:34 pm

This won’t happen to me………iceman got a healthy 5% return on that contract yo.


June 5th, 2012
12:35 pm

Let’s do the hypothetical math: $ 20 million career earnings less 10% agent fees. $ 18 million less taxes (40% ?) = $10.8 M. $10.8 million divided 1/3 for Athlete, 1/3 for Alimony/Child Support/Bad Investments, 1/3 for legal fees = $3.5 M for the athlete to spend. $3.5 million for the athlete to spend divided by 7 year career = $ 500,000 per year after taxes during the athlete’s playing career.

If the athlete buys just one Bentley, that’s a $250,000 chunk from the $ 500,000 for one of those years. If the athlete buys a nice house for himself, that’s $ 1.5 million (or three years of his net net salary). If he buys his mom a nice house, that’s another $500,000 (or one year of his net net salary.)

All that is left from his playing career after paying for moms, kids, business partners, agents and lawyers, etc, is $ 1.25 million. The athlete is around 30 years old at this point, his playing career winding down, and his lifestyle is not winding down. So, from the $ 20 million career earning, the athlete has to live now and retire later on $ 1.25 million dollars.

big don

June 5th, 2012
12:48 pm

Eff em all. I pay $350 per month for 10,000 deductible health insurance and have been self employed for 25 years which means living below my means and saving every penny so I can sleep at night. Next week I’ve got to pay out of pocket $1500 for spoinal injections after pay Blue Cross $350 this month for insurance because I have high deductible. I DON’T EXPECT anybody or any of you to care one iota nor do I care about your personal crosses to bear. It’s just life and then you die.
I had to opportunity for Mr. Rison to appear in our courtroom in 2004 and 5 for non payment of child support with a very highly priced attorney claiming he had no money and couldn’t find a J O B. The only problem was, and as noted by the judge, he had on a crazy assed pair of NIke pimp sneakers that probably cost 200 bills. I haven’t spent 20o total on shoes in five years. So got to Mickey D’s you jerk and get over yourself.

Lenny Dykstra

June 5th, 2012
12:53 pm

Don’t just throw Andre Rison and Curt Shilling under the bus . . . Lenny not only lost his own money, but a bunch of other people’s money too. Lenny was a Madoff for the jock-strap set. At least Andre Rison didn’t set up a Hedge Fund. Just thought I would throw down the race card since this is Atlanta and nobody’s done that yet. Where is Terrence Moore when we need him!


June 5th, 2012
12:53 pm

seenthisb4 often confuses the issues. he thinks theres a championship contender in new orleans


June 5th, 2012
1:18 pm

Andre Rison was a great athlete but a classless person. He was never a team player, but had a great NFL career. His agent, Charles Parker, always seemed to handle issues that he got into. He never payed people for the stuff he bought. His agent would take care of that after the vendor filed suit. Once his career was winding down, his agent was less inclined to “baby sit” Rison’s issues. It is sad that these great athletes never grow up and mature. When they are young, the high school coach takes care of them. When they are in college, the college coach takes care of them. When they are in the pros, the agent takes care of them. At some point, you got to grow up.


June 5th, 2012
1:24 pm

Man I tell you he had a good time as long as he realize that and enjoy the fun of just having the chance to play with the big boy’s and have a dream come true to play in the NFL. He’s not like T.O. complaining about his bad investments and want to sue everybody because of his behavior while on the job he was problems.Andre to me love wild women and strip clubs and having a good time as long he enjoyed himself way to go Andre.Now take your degree and make you so more money and keep on living and enjoying life.


June 5th, 2012
1:34 pm

Why do we want to watch another show about how financially irresponsible the African American man is when he had money? It is going to make your all look foolish. Do you think it will get you sympathy in someone’s child support court? Because if I see TO crying on one more show about him having no money to pay…well you should have thought about that when you were blowing money!!
Why not go to ESPN with a show profiling veteran athletes that come back to assist the rookie players in becoming successful on & off the field to include everything from public speaking/ financial planning / social media / current spending / building character & etc. Men STAND UP and stop letting the media drag you..damn!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
1:40 pm

ToLegit2Quit — He second agent was Dr. Charles Tucker.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
1:41 pm

Lenny Dykstra – You still owe me $2,500.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
1:43 pm

big don — Relax my friend.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
1:46 pm

Lifestyles — Umm, maybe a Audi or Benz would work instead of the Bentley?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
1:49 pm

Jasmine — Thanks for sharing that. That says a lot about a person. Poor tippers are usually bad news.


June 5th, 2012
1:57 pm

Who cares…just another ignorant athelete that spends money as fast as he makes it…..he gets what he deserves!!

Tough Love

June 5th, 2012
2:04 pm

Oprah needs to school these dudes on how to handle their money. She’s trying to get ratings for her network, so why not do a reality show with Andre Rison, Warren Sapp, and Terrell Owens? The cameras could follow them around and see how they spend money, and then Oprah could have an intervention with them and point out the dumb mistakes they are making. Step 1) Avoid Kim Kardashian. Step 2) Earn money like Kim Kardashian. She is a complete non-talent who has figured out how to earn $40 million per year. Andre is such a train-wreck that he would make great reality TV. Pretty soon, he will be back earning more than he ever did in the NFL.


June 5th, 2012
2:07 pm

Probably too late in this post for DOL to read but I, for one, would like to hear about what’s going on in Flowery Branch. DOL, you do still cover football don’t you? Show me.

Hussein Ala Bin

June 5th, 2012
2:15 pm

You pathetic western professional athlete! Living a life of utter decadence. Can you not see that your house has been cursed with the flea’s of a thousand dogs? Left Eye burned your house down, and still you did not learn! Left Eye moved to paradise, and still you did not learn! Evil capitalist lawyer’s took what was left of your fortune, and still you did not learn! No more soup for you!


June 5th, 2012
2:25 pm

Hey Lenny Dykstra…Last time I checked Curt Schilling was white. Race has nothing to do with it. Greed is greed and stupid is stupid.


June 5th, 2012
2:34 pm

Child Support is the best shutdown corner in the history of the NFL.

Texas Pete

June 5th, 2012
2:41 pm

I don’t know how old Rison is, but when he reaches 55 he will be able to receive an NFL pension. Since he played 12 years, he will probably make about $4000 a month. I know that’s way below his spending standards, but at least he will be able to eat. I know plenty of retirees right now that are living on social security payments of around $1000 a month, and they are not eating very well. I was just wondering….didn’t Rison have any real friends? Surely someone could have told him to put at least $1 million away for a rainy day. I guess it’s true. Almost everybody in America is a crook. Lord save us!

Captain Midnight

June 5th, 2012
2:51 pm

These guys make more money in one year than most people earn in their entire lives.
If they are stupid enough to blow it (and they are) then so be it.
It kills me that they have to have “rookie seminars” to teach these Grown Men how to behave.
No, they can’t bank it, they’ve gotta “invest” it in 5 cars,3 houses wich naturally results in 10 kids with 10 women and settin up they Aunt with a chicken and waffle stand.

Hamad Meander

June 5th, 2012
2:58 pm

Don’t forget Uncle Sam took half of Andre’s loot before he even got it in his pocket. His agent also took another 5%-10% too. These guys do spend like they don’t owe taxes and that the money will keep flowing for the rest of their lives. A reasonable thing for a professional sports star to do would be to invest half of what they take in after taxes, agent fees, etc. and blow the rest.

Don’t buy a home until you are out of the league, get a vascetomy before you have any kids, and don’t do drugs. Retire a multi-millionaire when you are 30. What’s so hard about that?


June 5th, 2012
2:59 pm

Yo. Here is the problem. Everyone wants a slice of the pizza. Then the pizza oven breaks, and there is no more pizza. Then, they get mad at the pizza man. Then, they say pizza man gotta feed all the little mouths that he created before the pizza over broke. Pizza man is still hungry too.

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June 5th, 2012
3:53 pm

In all fairness, it’s probably hard to think rationally after a career of head hits and concussions. Judgement’s always the first thing to go.

I Learned The First Time

June 5th, 2012
3:59 pm

To the nut that stated, lets watch the program and see what we can learn…..anyone with a brain and a small amount of sports knowledge is aware of this program being a rerun as it has played out many times. Ultimately, it has been too many times with people “LIKE” Rison. Be it Joe Louis, Evander Holyfiled, William Andrews, or Terrell Owens and the list could go on to be over a thousand long.
Point being, you can watch all you want but I will be you all you have that before the year is over I will be able to point out at least 10 more formerly rich pro athletes filing bankruptcy (like Jamal Lewis just did) before the year is over. And I will be able to do the same thing every year of my life.


June 5th, 2012
4:00 pm

It is better to have made and lost 10’s of millions than to have never been a rich, Pro-bowler.

Typical Redneck

June 5th, 2012
4:03 pm

I wonder how many of these broke former athletes grew up in a single parent home?


June 5th, 2012
4:14 pm

Dre’ still has an unused credit at the DISCO KROGER.

You know…the one he shot up when he was mad a Lefty…

Wisc. ex-pat

June 5th, 2012
4:17 pm

I remember being in the bar at “Fuzzy’s” in Elm Grove, WI back in the late ’70’s when I overheard Fuzzy Thurston, one of the bar owners and a retired GB Packer and Hall of Fame member, talking with a friend at the bar. I could not help but evesdrop because he sounded so down when he said, “Nobody wants to be Fuzzy anymore.” Wow.

It is really unfortunate that these pro-athletes get wrapped up in their own celebrity and do not plan on the psychology of transitioning into the non-spot-lighted life. They get so used to the attention that they forget that there is a much longer life AFTER playing ball. So sad.


June 5th, 2012
5:04 pm

Andre “BadMoon” Rison. A fool and his money are dearly departed. I don’t feel sorry for you. You had it all and you blew it. Pitiful, just pitiful!!


June 5th, 2012
5:08 pm

Usher knows this tune. He can relate to Andre. His ex-manager, ex-wife wants to carve off some of his lifestyle. She is entitled to live off him for the next 20 years, right? He will be broke in a couple of years too. Mark it down.