Young people in the Bronx are gaining some insight into how to handle their money from NFL Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott, who recently launched a program to elevate financial literacy at Eagle Academy, an all-boys charter school that is part of New York City’s public education system.
Lott is working with the Winning Plays program, a nationally recognized financial education program. He believes students need financial knowledge and skills more than ever in difficult economic times.
“Everybody knows that the playing field has changed, the situation has changed, especially here in America,’’ Lott told Fanhouse.com’s David Steele, "and especially given the fact that we’ve gone through an incredible recession. [Young people] have got a lot of challenges ahead of them, and we have to make sure that everybody’s buckling up, in more ways than one.’’
Lott, a successful businessman since leaving football after the 1995 season, has watched many former athletes fall on difficult times after making millions. The founder of Winning Plays, broadcast journalist Stacey Tisdale, cited an eye-opening Sports Illustrated article that said 78 percent of NFL players hit financial hard times just two years after entering retirement, while 60 percent of NBA players are broke five years into retirement.
Unfortunately, those numbers disproportionately hit home with African-American athletes. Lott wants to do what he can to change that.
"The thing is, I don’t know a lot about a lot of the things we talk about," Lott said. "But I know enough to know that I’ve got to get involved."
Tisdale says that the young people tend to listen closely when Lott, who has four Super Bowl rings, is speaking.
"One, he’s Ronnie Lott. There’s that," she said in the Fanhouse.com piece. "But it’s also that he humanizes it for them. They see that they can achieve a goal, and that he’s made mistakes. He shares his mistakes and how he overcame them, and it makes him a human being. It’s no longer the guy on TV, no longer the guy on posters—it’s the guy sitting in front of them telling them, ‘God, I spent way too much money on cars when I was younger.’
"It humanizes what we idealize, and it makes us realize we are on a par with our idols."
Contact Terrance Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris
(Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)