Vick Isn’t Getting Out of Debt Any Time Soon

By Dr. Boyce Watkins, BASN Contributor
Updated: January 22, 2011

NEW YORK (BASN) — Oh what a tangled web we weave with our choices. A man with one of the most tangled financial webs in America is Mr. Michael Vick.

Vick has re-positioned himself as one of the leading quarterbacks in the NFL, and I’m sure a massive financial offer is forthcoming at some point. But don’t expect Michael to be rolling pretty for quite a while, since I haven’t seen this many financial problems since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Where do we begin? Let’s start with Vick’s stellar salary with the Philadelphia Eagles. Michael brings home a cool $4.1 million, which might seem like a lot of money for a man who didn’t just file bankruptcy while serving time in prison.

A condition of the bankruptcy is that Vick doesn’t get to spend nearly any of the money he earns for anything other than absolute necessities. So, that means no Cristal at the club, no ‘blingin, flossin’, shinin’ or stuntin’ allowed, which seems to be the mandatory calling for far too many African American athletes.

A full two-thirds of Michael Vick’s salary goes to the IRS and bill collectors. He is given $4,250 per month for rent and $472 per month to pay his car note. He is, however, allowed to pay his mother $2,500 per month for whatever job she has – we should always make room in the bankruptcy deal for mama.

Vick then gives the rest of his money to lawyers, child support, and his agent, who gets $800,000 up through the year 2015. His creditors will get $12 million over the next five years as well.

Hardly the lifestyle of a baller, ya know?

Even with his amazing play, Michael Vick can’t ease too much of the financial pressure with pay increases. If his annual salary jumps to $10 million or more per year, Vick must give his creditors 40 percent of what he brings home.

Perhaps through time, this financial discipline can lead Vick to engage in the act of wealth building instead of debt creation. He won’t be able to run, jump and take brutal hits much longer and will need something to sustain him into middle age.

Vick’s experience with sports, debt and the criminal justice system defines the travels of quite a few black athletes. Unfortunately, the prized athlete doesn’t always realize that a good education in business and money management is essential for anyone earning that kind of dough at an early age.

That’s one outcome of the tragic reality that so many black athletes trade their educational opportunities in exchange for sports. Having debt is not always a bad thing, but thinking that you’re made of money can be a problem, especially when you are providing for so many people.

In addition to being disappointed with Vick’s behavior, I also find myself turned off by the paternalistic and self-righteous manner by which many are viewing his experience.

Vick is a man who is being controlled by the system as if he is an animal who must be trained to make good choices. While most of us would agree that Vick’s choices have not always been the best, we can find millions of middle-class Americans who are also swamped with debt and in a bad economic situation.

In fact, that tells the story of our federal government too.