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NFL Sis Liz Nicholson did an interview with NPR’s “Only A Game” last weekend about the unregulated lenders going after brain-damaged former players – offering sky high interest loans based on future concussion settlement awards. As Liz says, it’s “despicable”.
If you Google the words “concussion” “settlement” and “loan,” you’ll find ads. Lots of them. And they’re all variations on a theme: The NFL has agreed to pay former players up to $1 billion. No one knows when the payments will begin. And former players are struggling, sick, bankrupt. They need money. Now.
Then comes the hook. Or rather, the promise: “We can solve this problem for you,” the ads promise former players. “It’s not a loan. It’s an advance on the money you’re due. And if the settlement doesn’t go through or if your claim is denied, you don’t have to pay back that advance.” The small print may mention that if you get the money, you’ll repay that alleged non-loan and interest of 40 percent…or more.
The former NFL players being offered these deals are especially vulnerable to the pitch-man’s lure.
We first read about the issue in The New York Times. Liz Nicholson saw that article, too. It was all over her Facebook and social media feeds. But she says the news wasn’t exactly new.
“All of the people in the NFL were very aware of what’s going on,” Nicholson says. “In fact, there had been a letter that I think was sent out, I wanna say, a couple years ago, warning families about this very thing.”
Liz Nicholson and her friends can’t remember who sent the letter. It might have been from the Players’ Association. Liz received the warning because she’s the wife of Gerry Sullivan, who was a lineman for the Cleveland Browns from 1974 to 1981. She’s also the Finance Director for the Senate Democrats in Illinois. She knows her way around a financial spreadsheet, and she would likely never recommend that someone take on a loan from an unregulated lender who charges upwards of 40 percent interest. But these loans aren’t being offered to just anyone. They’re being offered to former players who are showing signs of brain damage.
“So risky, so bad,” Nicholson says. “I have a lot of love for my husband and his brethren in the NFL. I’m not saying anything disparaging against them. It’s just that so many of them are suffering, and one of the biggest things, Karen, is that they lack impulse control. They’re not in the right frame of mind to be agreeing to these loans, and I know that from experience from my husband, Gerry.”
Continue reading the text of this interview here.