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Tiki Barber is Jobless and Broke after Infidelity; Announces Return to Football

{ Posted on Mar 26 2011 by Marcus Alston }

Retired New York Giants Running back and former broadcaster, Tiki Barber violated one of my  top financial tips for athletes that I created originally for Allen Iverson (which by the way I recommend for everyone).  He was unfaithful to his spouse which has resulted in divorce.  Divorce can cause severe financial disruption for the primary bread winner and the entire family.

In the case of Tiki, his divorce appears to have been caused by infidelity.  Tiki allegedly had an affair at work with an intern leading to his dismissal from his employer, NBC.

With his post football career severely damaged by his own conduct, on March 8, 2011, Tiki signaled his intention to return to football by filing paperwork to come out of retirement.  Everyone wondered why he was returning, but now we know it’s not for the love of the game—Tiki sabotaged his high paying broadcasting career, was fired for an extra-marital affair at work, and now needs the money.

During Tiki’s career with the Giants before he retired, he ruffled quite a few feathers, including announcing his plans to retire after the season during the season in October 2006.  The Giants by the way won the Super Bowl the very next season without Tiki.  The New York Giants still retain Tiki’s rights, but in March of this year they announced plans to release him once the NFL and the NFL Players Association reach a collective bargaining agreement.

After looking at Tiki’s situation a little closer it should come as no surprise that he is looking for a source of income.  This is all it is for Tiki.  When he retired after the 2006 season, he dreamed of becoming the next big thing at NBC—kind of like a Matt Lauer.  He wanted to do more than sports and he was a hot property and did just that initially.  He was a Today Show and Sunday Night Football correspondent.  He also hosted the 66th Golden Globe Awards.  He contributed to Yahoo Sports and he even wrote a couple of books.

I found Tiki to be pretty good at what he did although he was a little smug about it.  I did wonder how he would cope financially after retiring at the early age of 31.  He had a long way to go until the normal retirement age of 60 plus.  As a New York Giant he was making $4.65 million per year when he retired.  At NBC, he worked for NBC Sports and NBC News and reportedly made a salary between $2.5 and $3 million according to AOL News.  Not too shabby.  Throw in his book deals and the fact that his broadcasting career could have lasted another 20 years and a thousand less hits versus about 10 more years max for his football career, his move into broadcasting appeared to be a shrewd move.  The kind of move you might expect from Tiki.  Unfortunately, in Tiger-like fashion, Tiki caused the demise of this own career.

Reports surfaced that Barber had left his then 8 month pregnant wife of 11 years for a much younger woman– 23-year-old former NBC intern Traci Lynn Johnson.  As a result of Tiki’s indiscretion, sources say NBC secretly ended their deal with Barber in May 2010 due to a "morality clause" which specified that stars must not be involved in public scandals.  Hmmm, I wonder how Matt Lauer and David Letterman avoided getting canned after their public scandals?  I guess Tiki is more like Matt Lauer than we all thought except Matt did not get canned by NBC!?!?

His wife filed for divorce and evidently Tiki does not appear to have shown any remorse or taken any responsibility for his actions (reportedly Tiki claimed he only receives $300,000 per year from NBC and cannot pay the divorce settlement).   Even Tiger Woods took responsibility for his actions.

Can Tiki make a successful comeback? During his final season he was one of the best running backs in the league when he rushed for 1,662 yards with an impressive 5.1 yard per carry average.  I am not sure that I am pulling for him so much to make a successful comeback into the NFL.  If he does, I hope he is much more humble about it this time and is a better teammate.  It should be interesting to watch his comeback considering he was critical of NFL players when he was a commentator and now he goes back to work side by side with them.

The New York Post reports that Barber will get the veteran’s minimum salary of $865,000 in 2011 if he makes a team. If he makes a team he’ll probably earn between $1.5 and $2 million when bonuses are included.  Not bad for someone with Tiki’s baggage.

My advice to Tiki:  Tiki, save all your money and start living a frugal life style.  You should have millions saved by now unless you have lived above your means.  This money needs to be managed so that it lasts you well into retirement.  Be a solid citizen and teammate in the NFL for a few years; show remorse and maturity.  Then in addition to doing well in the NFL again and earning close to a million per year, you may get another chance in broadcasting.  And don’t forget to take care of your kids and ex-wife financially. The Barbers now have 4 children (including two twin girls that were born after the affair became public).

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