Yesterday, Ryan Howard and his family were in the news. Today in ugly athlete-parent financial news, we have the crazy story of Jack Johnson of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Johnson, who signed a 7-year, $30.5 million dollar contract in 2011, is declaring bankruptcy, claiming less than $50,000 in assets.
According to the story from the Columbus Dispatch, the reason he is in that financial situation is because of his parents. He signed a power of attorney granting his mother full control of his finances when he was 24 years old. They then proceeded to secure a lengthy series of high interest rate loans borrowing against his future earnings, to fund an expensive home in Manhattan Beach, California, and travel costs.
The people behind those loans include someone introduced to Johnson’s family by former Michigan basketball player Maurice Taylor when Johnson was at the University of Michigan, a person who is now in the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa, and a company known for “monetizing” player contracts, and did so for Vince Young and Bryant McKinnie during the lockout. (“Monetizing” is described as borrowing against the future earnings to get money now).
“I’ve seen lots of instances of parents riding their kid’s coattails around,” said an NHL executive familiar with the case. “I’ve never seen a case as ugly as this one, where the parents took such advantage of their kid.”