After he divorced, the sports agent who inspired Tom Cruise's character in "Jerry Macguire" says he had to live alone for the first time. He would spend whole days drinking, eventually going in and out of rehabilitation centers. Now, after a series of business setbacks over a 10-year period, the former super agent recently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
Leigh Steinberg, 62, was known for securing enormous signing bonuses for his clients, representing many players who later became NFL Hall of Famers. He persuaded players to be role models on and off the field. And it's said that he earned over $100 million in his illustrious career. However, the agent's recent bankruptcy filing discloses assets of $483,500 and debts of over $3.1 million. Sadly, his average monthly income was shown to be only $3.33 more than his average monthly expenses.
Steinberg's filing for bankruptcy protection followed an authorization for his arrest, but the warrant was never issued. He had apparently failed to appear at a hearing for a $1.4 million debt case. Recently, Steinberg told the Associated Press that he takes full responsibility for his debt, and that he lost track of his finances while he was going through rehabilitation for alcoholism.
The former agent's debt includes $1.4 million in back rent, hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to various people in the sports industry, $100,000 in taxes and $50,000 in credit card charges.
In addition to his financial struggles, Steinberg has had to cope with a divorce, the 2004 death of his father, and the diagnosis of his two sons with retinitis pigmentosa, which leads to blindness.
Readers in the San Diego area know that life can sometimes spiral out of control. Personal setbacks -- divorce, illness, a death in the family -- can all-too-easily result in financial burdens that seem insurmountable. Life can be hard.
But there are still options. Personal bankruptcy, far from carrying the stigma it once did, can be a way for individuals and their families to get their lives back on track. A bankruptcy attorney who recognizes the specific needs of a case can help a person with debt troubles prepare for a financial re-start aimed for a brighter future.
Source: washingtonpost.com, "Bankruptcy is 'wreckage' from years of drinking by Steinberg, the real-life Jerry Maguire," Jan. 14, 2012