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


June 5th, 2012
5:16 pm

Child support and taxes. That is the path to going broke. No high income earner should chase skirts and skirt their tax bill, cause it will cost you in the long run. Andre should have kept up on those obligations instead of buying a new car every 6 months.


June 5th, 2012
5:18 pm

No sympathy whatsoever. He made more in his 11-year career than most people will make in a lifetime. He had a free ride through college. Even if a rich athlete has zero financial sense, he has the money to hire a planner to make sure he and his family are forever taken care of.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
5:20 pm

Favors — I like the Pizza analogy.


June 5th, 2012
5:20 pm

It’s so easy to beat up on these guys for mismanaging their money but truth be told, most of us have done the same, just at a smaller level…imagine being in your early or mid twenties, gettin’ really paid, sycophants (butt kissers) constantly telling you how wonderful you are, beautiful women throwing themselves at you, and on and on…unless you have a firm foundation like the Manning brothers, you’ll probably make the same mistake…Someone once told me “It’s not what you make, it’s what you manage”…so true, so true…

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
5:20 pm

Texas Pete — Andre is 45. He’s got 10 more years.


June 5th, 2012
5:22 pm

I’d rather be a gozillionaire @ 55 than 25…

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
5:23 pm

JB Falcons — There is no media access in Flowery Branch UNTIL tomorrow!!!! I will be there along with Chris Vivlamore to cover our one-day a week of open OTAs!!! We’ll get to cover some offseason football for you. Hold on for another 16 hours or so. The Batmobile will be backing out of the driveway at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
5:26 pm

YourPoliticalAnimal – I concur with you! Hopefully, I can get to 55!

Pin sized Hole

June 5th, 2012
5:33 pm

An ounce of prevention prevents conception

Jack Wood

June 5th, 2012
5:36 pm

Expect no pity in child support city.

billie jean not luver

June 5th, 2012
6:16 pm

Andre is hiding his money. Mean lawyer man, with a discovery subpoena, is trying to find out how much cake is left to eat. Andre is too smart to hide money under his mattress and then burn the house down, isn’t he?


June 5th, 2012
6:24 pm

Andre, I just got chopped for $14k per month in support. Pilar is out shopping as we speak.

Joseph A. Bank

June 5th, 2012
6:46 pm

Just another DA…and that is not District Attorney.

Goodsun Setting

June 5th, 2012
8:47 pm

DOL- This was a great article for stirring up some socially relevant conversation here! Jasmine’s story was great. It’s also great to see you interact with the bloggers this deep on the blog! Finally, may I request a Julio interview/story during OTAs? Thank you!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
9:14 pm

Goodsun Setting — Julio is on the coverage plan that I turned in today. I want to let him get through OTAs so he can add some value to his observations on if they will be helpful for him.

Blob Horner

June 5th, 2012
9:17 pm

Hey BW, don’t lump Calvin Johnson in with these miscreants. Calvin went to a tough school and took difficult classes, worked on bringing water to a remote village. That sounds like someone with the maturity to work hard, delay gratification and plan for tomorrow vs these short sighted hedonists. These
tangible traits were probably evident in 3rd grade, the forces in place that compeled one to take the high road and the other the path of least resistance. The laws of nature and economics are linked and intractable.

Banned by Dled

June 5th, 2012
9:20 pm

Andre’s broke? Who could have seen that coming.

Banned by Dled

June 5th, 2012
9:21 pm

Agreed Bob, Calvin Johnson is a class act. Rest assured, he will never be broke.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 5th, 2012
10:16 pm

Banned by Dled — How did you get in here?


June 6th, 2012
12:44 am

Andre Rison for as bad as its sounds is a hell of alot more money savvy than Antoine Walker!!

[...] The rest of the article can be found here: Atlanta Falcons [...]


June 6th, 2012
6:54 am

When Andre Rison became a professional, he moved into a world few are prepared for. Instant wealth, fame, fan adoration. He became addicted to this intoxicating drug. Who of us wouldn’t.


June 6th, 2012
12:59 pm

I know Rison personlly and like Frank Sinatra sang, “He did it his way!” and I have nothing but respect for him! Everyone who is hating on the man, He didnt ask for your simpathy. He didnt ask anyone to feel sorry for him! Last time I saw him he was still smiling and still the same old Dre! With or without the millions. I admire him and I think if he had a chance to do it over again he wouldnt change much about the way he lived. We all would change a few things. C’mon dont be a hipocrite!

Falcon Jim's stalker should be BANNED

June 6th, 2012
1:24 pm

Enter your comments here

Skitty Fritty

June 6th, 2012
3:33 pm

Athletes need to learn that cars are not an investment and don’t chase high returns by investing in private companies. When you start out early in life with this kind of income, you don’t have to chase high returns. Invest like a 60 year old.

Skitty Fritty

June 6th, 2012
3:34 pm

Remember when Andre’s house burned down because “Left Eye” set some stuffed animals on fire in the bathtub. My guess is insurance didn’t cover this because the fire was not an accident. This probably cost him a pretty penny to replace or repair.

[...] Andre Rison will be featured in an ESPN documentary about really rich athletes who can’t handle said riches. [Orlando Ledbetter] [...]


June 8th, 2012
12:55 am

Stories like these break my heart. How does this happen? It happens because the NFL does NOTHING to help their players understand the overwhelming responsibility of tremendous wealth. Why doesn’t the NFL give a damn and make it a mandatory requirement that all NFL players sign with a wealth financial planner that is employed by a major lending institutiion or brokerage BEFORE closing the deal?


June 9th, 2012
7:36 am

We as professionals make good money, sign contracts for BIG BUCKS, we never realize what the future holds. Alone the way they mistreat love ones, forget about our children, have sex with whom ever(women), because as an athlete we never think we will always be on top. sometimes we have to keep GOD in our lives. We must always pay our tithes, trust me I’ve been down and out, GOD pulled me through. It’s all about where your HEART is THINK POSITIVE GOD WILL SHOW YOU THE WAY NO SHORT CUTS

Robert Abooey

June 9th, 2012
11:58 am

Very common story. Maybe the major professional leagues should consider requiring that rookies take and pass a class in personal financial management and also make mandatory deductions from players’ salaries that then go into a deferred compensation plan along with contributions from the teams they play for. The deferred comp would start being paid out upon the player’s retirement.
Also, the players need to be able to have access to affordable healthcare insurance after they retire.