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NFL legend Warren Sapp on his financial life after football

Warren Sapp, a former defensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders.

Last month a familiar story hit the front page of the sports section: "Multi-millionaire athlete declares bankruptcy." This time it was 39-year-old football legend Warren Sapp. He played defensive tackle for 13 seasons in the NFL, won a Super Bowl title with Tampa Bay in 2002 and banked -- by his own count -- $60 million. Now he's filed for Chapter 7 liquidation.

According to court papers, he owes creditors more than $6.7 million. Sapp says he made bad real estate investments just before the housing bust, among other financial woes. And because of the debt, his paychecks as an analyst for the NFL Network were garnished. He also specifically pointed to an expensive divorce and taking a huge paycut (from $5 million annually to less than $1 million) as factors that led him into his financial predicament.

He's hardly alone. According to Sports Illustrated, nearly 80 percent of NFL players file for bankruptcy within two years of their retirement.

"Trust me, you don't choose this," Sapp said.

He said while most people may not understand how he got into the financial trouble that he did, he wanted to clarify that he is current on his child support payments.

"I will eat trash before my children are not not taken care of," he said.

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button on the audio player above.

About the author

Tess Vigeland is the host of Marketplace Money, where she takes a deep dive into why we do what we do with our money.
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To listen to what this person of little character (Warren Sapp) says won't teach much to anyone. Warren married someone I know, he cheated on her (impregnating his mistress), and then has the nerve to say on national radio "it's cheaper to keep her". This is one vile man, who creates victims in his wake -- tough to feel sorry for him blowing 60 million dollars. And this is coming from the biggest NFL fan that I know (me), who also loves this program to no end. Keep up the great work (by not having someone like Mr. Sapp on your program ever again).

Pity for the creditors? Really? They were obviously deceived because he was such a good credit risk in the first place. I'm not wasting my pity on either. Both Gambled. Both lost. Move on. Nothing to see here.

I am sick of sports players making "less than a million" tripping themselves into financial difficulty. No excuses. He made more money than most hard working Americans in multiple lifetimes, yet he squanders it all away. He's not asking for pity, but I do pity the creditors who are on the hook needlessly. Thanks for the interview.

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