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  1. #1
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    McKinley Was Deep in Gambling Debt

    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley had a gambling problem and was deep in debt when he committed suicide on Sept. 21, friends and family told authorities during a probe into his death.

    McKinley committed suicide with a gun he had purchased months before from teammate Jabar Gaffney, who told investigators McKinley wanted the weapon for his own protection, according to an investigative report by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department that was obtained by The Associated Press. Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said there was nothing inappropriate about the sale of the gun.

    Detectives also determined that McKinley had spoken about suicide with at least three of his friends, including former Broncos backup quarterback Tom Brandstater. Brandstater told investigators he had lent McKinley $65,000 and that McKinley owed $40,000 in casino markers in Las Vegas.

    ``It's unfortunate at a time like this that we don't get to focus on how great of a person Kenny was and how much he meant to a lot of people,'' Brandstater told the AP on Wednesday. ``As for the other circumstances, Kenny was a friend in need and I would do anything for him, as he would have done for me.''

    McKinley, 23, suffered a season-ending left knee injury during the first week of Broncos training camp. He underwent an operation several weeks before he shot himself in the left temple at his rental home near the Broncos' practice facility. McKinley had injured the same knee in the Broncos' next-to-last game in 2009.

    The 131-page report, which states the investigation has closed, quoted witnesses as saying McKinley was depressed over his second knee surgery in eight months and was worried about how he would care for his toddler son when his football career was over.

    Days before his death, McKinley had been ordered to pay $3,000 a month in child support by a South Carolina court. He had told friends he was being threatened with a paternity suit by another woman who said she was pregnant with his baby, according to the sheriff's report.

    McKinley had missed a South Carolina court hearing in the child support case on Sept. 14.

    The Broncos declined to comment on the sheriff's report out of respect for McKinley's family.

    McKinley's parents and Brandstater, who is now on the Miami Dolphins' practice squad, told investigators they had been trying to help him fix his financial problems.

    According to investigators, the Broncos were apparently aware of McKinley's financial troubles.

    The team's player development director, Harold Chatman, had been asked by Brandstater's representative to hold onto a copy of a contract Brandstater had with McKinley, stating McKinley would repay the $65,000 loan.

    The Broncos called it an internal matter.

    The knee injury was costly financially for McKinley, who signed a four-year, $1.95 million contract with the Broncos in 2009 after they drafted him in the fifth round out of South Carolina.

    The deal included a $200,200 signing bonus, and he made the rookie minimum salary of $310,000 last year. However, he had a split contract, meaning that because he was to spend all of 2010 on injured reserve, he would receive $240,000, instead of $395,000.

    There were no guarantees that he'd recover from his second knee operation to earn the $480,000 due him in 2011 or $565,000 in 2012.

    McKinley's agent, Andrew Bondarowicz, told the AP that under NFL players' association rules he couldn't get involved with McKinley's finances and thus could not discuss them.

    Bondarowicz did say that McKinley had taken out a $50,000 loan from another, unidentified party, something that a former Broncos teammate, Everette Pedescleaux, had mentioned to investigators.

    The sheriff's report quotes McKinley's father, Kenneth McKinley, as saying that he and his wife were getting many letters for their son at their home in Mableton, Ga., from casinos in Las Vegas. He said bill collectors also were calling his house asking for his son and that he had spoken with his son about managing his money better.

    The elder McKinley said he also suspected his son was having financial problems because he had only recently begun using a credit card that he'd given him in college.

    Kenneth McKinley did not return a message left Wednesday by the AP.

    Brandstater told investigators that McKinley had a ``major gambling problem'' and that he told him that he owed $40,000 in Las Vegas. He said the two of them had dinner for 10 straight nights in May trying to ``hash out ways to fix it.''

    Brandstater told investigators he eventually lent McKinley $65,000 and that he nearly emptied his bank accounts to help out his friend. McKinley was supposed to send Brandstater $7,500 from each paycheck but hadn't paid back any of the money, Brandstater said.

    Brandstater said he trusted McKinley to repay him but that his financial adviser insisted that a contract be drawn up and that a copy be given to the Broncos. Part of the pact included McKinley providing the title to his two vehicles as collateral. He said McKinley also gave him two watches, a Breitling and a Gucci valued together at $30,000, as well as a gold necklace to hold as collateral.

    Brandstater said he returned the necklace to McKinley, who sold it for $6,000. Brandstater told investigators he told McKinley to keep that money because he was in such dire financial straits.

    Brandstater told investigators that about a week before he lent him the money, McKinley said ``that he could save everyone the burden and just kill himself.''

    Brandstater told the AP that McKinley quickly assured him he wasn't serious about committing suicide.

    Two women who were baby-sitting McKinley's toddler son when they discovered he had killed himself each told investigators that McKinley had talked about suicide.

    The mother of McKinley's child, Shayla Lites, told investigators that a family court in South Carolina had ordered McKinley to pay $3,000 a month in child support, a figure that was based on his 2009 earnings. She said he was supposed to provide documents to the court showing his current salary. She said McKinley had been paying her $1,500 a month - and that she planned to return anything over that amount to him because she knew he had financial problems.

    Gaffney, a Broncos receiver, told investigators he sold McKinley a gun in April. Gaffney had bought the gun in 2004 in Houston.

    ``Kenny told me he wanted a gun for his personal protection and being that I have a couple of legally owned firearms, I sold him one of mine that I didn't want anymore,'' Gaffney said in a statement to deputies.

    Gaffney wasn't in the Broncos locker room during the 45-minute media access Wednesday.
    http://www.comcast.net/articles/spor...inley.Suicide/

    Financial trouble, add in child support, a possible second kid, and a loan from Brandstater he needed to repay, coupled with possibly not being able to come back from second knee surgery, not hard to see why the guy was depressed.

    He really needed a friend to smack him around for the poor gambling, especially since he had a son he needed to care for....

    Can't believe Brandstater loaned him $65k, and he'll probably never see that money again, wouldn't be surprised if he gambled some of that away too, trying to win a bunch back to get ahead...
    Last edited by BroncoFanNC; 12-02-2010 at 08:20 AM.

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  2. #2
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    Brandy sounds like a very good friend.

    I always liked him... hope he gets a shot some day.

    Kenny... just tragic.

    I hope that his life serves to help educate new rookies...
    - Go Broncos 2017 and Beyond! -

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  3. #3
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    Wow, Brandstater really tried to help McKinley out. Very sad story.

  4. #4
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    Digging themselves into a huge whole they can't get out of is usually how suicides happen.

    Him injuring himself must have been the breaking point.

  5. #5
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    When did he get placed on IR? Anybody remember? I'm just wondering if him being placed on season-ending IR again was the breaking point. I've heard it said here that he was depressed about his injury, like perhaps that he was told that his career was over. But the Broncos hadn't actually waived him though, had they?
    "Pey-Pey to Bay-Bay for the Tay Day!!"


  6. #6
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    That's really sad. I feel really bad for him, his family, and Brandstater.

  7. #7
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    I always will like Brandstater even though we got rid of him.I wish we still had Brandstater on this team.RIP McKinnely

  8. #8
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    Very sad. Seems like an issue many pro athletes have. They never manage money well. Its just sad Mckinley took it out on himself.
    "I'm scared if I stop all at once, the cumulative hangover will literally kill me."

  9. #9
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    I knew there had to be more to the story than him just being upset about being on injured reserve. This is very sad.

    Gambling seems to be a recurring problem with many athletes... there has got to be a better way to get these guys help with this issue before it's too late.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BroncoFanNC View Post
    http://www.comcast.net/articles/spor...inley.Suicide/

    Financial trouble, add in child support, a possible second kid, and a loan from Brandstater he needed to repay, coupled with possibly not being able to come back from second knee surgery, not hard to see why the guy was depressed.

    He really needed a friend to smack him around for the poor gambling, especially since he had a son he needed to care for....

    Can't believe Brandstater loaned him $65k, and he'll probably never see that money again, wouldn't be surprised if he gambled some of that away too, trying to win a bunch back to get ahead...
    Thing that suprises me most was the fact that he bought the gun from Gaffney....

    Sad story it's a shame to see a life cut so tragically short.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freyaka View Post
    Thing that suprises me most was the fact that he bought the gun from Gaffney....

    Sad story it's a shame to see a life cut so tragically short.
    I've heard it reported that many NFL players along with other pro-athletes often carry weapons for self-defense since they often carry large sums of money or expensive clothes and/or jewelry, so that's not strange.

    And they said the sale of the weapon was legal. Heck, I've sold pistols and rifles to friends who were interested. It makes sense actually. If you purchase something like that from a friend, you know exactly what you're getting.
    Sick avy by Blondie79

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetrazor74 View Post
    I've heard it reported that many NFL players along with other pro-athletes often carry weapons for self-defense since they often carry large sums of money or expensive clothes and/or jewelry, so that's not strange.

    And they said the sale of the weapon was legal. Heck, I've sold pistols and rifles to friends who were interested. It makes sense actually. If you purchase something like that from a friend, you know exactly what you're getting.
    Well... and I do get that but you think athlete carrying a gun you think of thugz like Pacman Jones and whatever the dude who shot his own leg was (it's early I can't remember) granted that's a few bad apples but yeah I hear ya.


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freyaka View Post
    Well... and I do get that but you think athlete carrying a gun you think of thugz like Pacman Jones and whatever the dude who shot his own leg was (it's early I can't remember) granted that's a few bad apples but yeah I hear ya.
    It was Plaxico Burress who cheaderbobbed himself. As for Brandon Lloyd its very sad indeed. Living next to two huge casinos gambling problems are huge, and it literally destroys people.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freyaka View Post
    Well... and I do get that but you think athlete carrying a gun you think of thugz like Pacman Jones and whatever the dude who shot his own leg was (it's early I can't remember) granted that's a few bad apples but yeah I hear ya.
    It's because the only time you ever hear about it is when someone is irresponsible. There are many, many upstanding responsible citizens out there who have concealed weapons permits and carry on a regular basis, and many more who own firearms but don't carry.

    Owning or selling a firearm has no bearing on whether one is a responsible, upstanding citizen, or a thug.
    Sick avy by Blondie79

  15. #15
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    Wow, didn't think that McKinley was in that much trouble. Too sad that the help from real friends like Brandstater didn't help him enough to find a way out of this mess.
    It's just sad - you get the opportunity to live your dream and earn good money and things don't work out the way you want them to. Just a few bad decisions in your life and you're trapped in a corner with (almost) no way out. Terrible...


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