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Report: NFL Players Taking Risky Loans

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Both sides in the NFL lockout are finally set to begin court-ordered mediated talks to reach a collective-bargaining agreement. But, the NFLPA may be starting to crack as players run into problem of having no cash during the lockout.

According to a report from Yahoo!’s thepostgame.com, players from at least 16 teams, including the Miami Dolphins, have sought out “aggressive short-term loans with high interest rates.” The interest ranges from 18 to 24 percent and if defaulted on, can jump to as high as 36 percent.

The loans are similar to payday loans, which Congressional Democrats and consumer groups have fought over the years for predatory practices.

“I know at least 16 different teams that have had players go out and have to set these [high risk loans] up,” an anonymous adviser told Yahoo! Sports. “Guys on the Dolphins, Saints, 49ers, Panthers, Chargers, Bears, Vikings.”

The report, if accurate, should not come as much of a surprise to fans of the NFL. Despite players getting paid at minimum hundreds of thousands of dollars, many may be facing serious budget problems as lockout continues.

According to CBSMiami.com news partner the Miami Herald, a May 2009 article from Sports Illustrated estimated that 78 percent of NFL players were either bankrupt or in serious financial stress by the second year of their retirement.

The Herald said that no player or agent has disputed the estimate and instead are referencing it “as fact in blog posts and interviews.”

The NFLPA has started making payments from its lockout fund to help keep players financially afloat until the lockout ends.

The lifeline was created to keep predatory lenders away from players. But with the fund only paying out up to $60,000 for some players, it will put many in a precarious position when bills come due.

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