Leigh Steinberg, the sports agent (and lawyer) who was the inspiration for Tom Cruise’s Jerry Maguire, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It’s created a field day for sport journalists and pundits alike, but it shows that we’re all just a few missteps from the bankruptcy court door.
In an article written for The Post Score, Steinberg reveals that he struggled with filing for bankruptcy for years. His financial situation was apparently made worse by his struggles with alcoholism, which hindered his judgment as well as his oversight of his financial affairs. Steinberg doesn’t make any excuses for his addiction, simply acknowledging that he wasn’t acting rationally when drinking.
Steinberg got sober, but was torn by what he calls his “moral and legal obligation to people who advanced me funds or performed services in good faith.” In the end, it was a constant and aggressive barrage of collection efforts that pushed him over the edge.
His family harassed, collection efforts hindering his ability to work, and the loss of business from people who decided to go elsewhere after finding out his financial problems all contributed to his march to the bankruptcy court.
Every bankruptcy lawyer has heard variations on these themes from countless clients who would have loved nothing more than to pay their debts if only the creditors would have eased up a tiny bit.
The world of debt collection – personal and commercial alike – is difficult for everyone involved. Your life is turned upside down by people hell bent on getting your last dime. You’re unfocused, scared and feel as if the world is falling apart.
Seinberg says, “It doesn’t seem logical to prevent a person who owes you money from working in their chosen field by attempting to ruin his reputation, but that is what has happened. I have lived with this in recent years, and it is time to follow a more constructive path.”
Sounds like a smart move to me. And if you’re feeling a bit upside down, maybe it’s time for you to consider a more constructive path as well.
Image credit: stuartpilbrow