Since the prices of cryptocurrencies have plummeted in recent weeks, many professional athletes have been bragging that they are being paid in cryptocurrencies and how much money they have lost. Specifically, the viral story claimed that the Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence lost $15 million after receiving his entire $24 million signing bonus last year in a cryptocurrency now worth just $9 million.
One problem with this story: it’s not true.
Lawrence made this clear on Twitter today, explaining that when he said last year he received a signing bonus in crypto, he was referring to the signing bonus he received for approving a deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX. He didn’t mean his $24 million signing bonus as the first overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft.
“Are you all confusing my @FTX_Official signing bonus with my @NFL bonus?” Lawrence wrote.
It should have been obvious from the start that the story was fake. To begin with, NFL players cannot receive money in cryptocurrency. They are paid in US dollars. What they decide to do with those dollars is their own business, and some players may invest heavily in cryptocurrencies, just like other players invest in stocks or real estate.
And income tax is withheld from players’ salaries, so Lawrence never had $24 million to lose. After taxes, Lawrence’s signing bonus was about $15 million, so if he had invested his entire signing bonus in bitcoin, he wouldn’t have lost $15 million unless the price of bitcoin dropped to zero. And while bitcoin is down more than 60 percent from its all-time high in November, it is still far from zero.
But, again, Lawrence did not put his entire signing bonus into bitcoin. Lawrence is making money from cryptocurrencies through his promotional deal with a cryptocurrency exchange, and if he invests that money in cryptocurrencies, he will lose a lot of money since his promotional deal started. But he didn’t lose $15 million.