Former NFL Player Called ‘Greedy’ for Charging Aunt Rent

Pierce Burton, a former NFL offensive lineman, found himself at the center of a social media debate after revealing he charged his aunt rent while playing professional football, a move some online commenters have branded as “greedy.”

Burton, who navigated a challenging NFL career spanning five teams, shared his story on TikTok, claiming the $700 that he charged his aunt monthly rent was crucial in keeping his head above water. Facing uncertain contracts, hefty expenses, and an injury setback, he argues his decision wasn’t driven by greed, but by precarious financials faced by some professional athletes.

Now a Mortgage Loan Officer for Nexa Mortgage who posts real estate content on TikTok and other social media platforms, Burton posted a video where he explained how he lived in a house for “free” while playing in the NFL.

“The key to this property was the little rental unit it had in the back. I was able to rent this for $1,400 a month. In the front house, I rented a room for $700 a month to my aunt. My total mortgage was $2,100 a month, getting $1,400 from the back [and] $700 from the front. So I lived at my place for just the cost of utility,” the former NFL offensive tackle said on TikTok.

That explanation sparked debate. While some acknowledged the instability of NFL contracts, critics questioned the need to charge family, arguing that the average NFL salary, even at the lower end, should be sufficient to cover basic expenses.

Pierce Burton former NFL
Former NFL offensive lineman Pierce Burton defends charging his aunt monthly rent on TikTok.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

“You charged your aunt, family, $700 for a bedroom while you were a NFL player? Greed will be the end of us all,” one user commented.

The comment, which drew nearly 25 replies, prompted Burton to post another video where he gave context to why he decided to charge his aunt rent. “Everybody thinks that every NFL player is absolutely loaded and that’s just not the case,” he said in the second video. “In fact, over playing for six years, professionally both in the NFL and the CFL, the most money I ever made was in the $200,000 range.”

Burton explained that after making the Atlanta Falcons roster for the 2015 regular season, he rented an apartment, bought furniture, and was cut from the team just two weeks later after the Falcons signed veteran Jake Long, a former number one overall pick in the NFL draft. After that, the offensive lineman had very short stints on several NFL practice squads, including the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, and the Detroit Lions.

While the glitz of the NFL may suggest players are swimming in cash, the reality for many, particularly those on practice squads, paints a different picture. Practice squad salaries, starting at $12,000 per week, is in contrast to the multi-million dollar contracts associated with the league’s top stars. For Burton, the low wages, coupled with frequent cuts, created a financial landscape where charging rent, even to family, became a necessary measure for survival.

As one commenter pointed out, even Burton’s larger contracts, like his $1.5 million deal in 2014, were contingent on playing time, which injuries ended up interrupting. “So my aunt moving in with me was actually almost a necessity to make bills,” Burton explained.

The reaction to Burton’s explanation was mixed. Some social media users empathized with his plight, recognizing the unpredictable and often short-lived nature of professional sports careers. Others remained critical, questioning the ethicality of charging family members for rent, irrespective of his financial situation.

Burton’s experience points to the often-overlooked financial realities faced by many professional athletes, especially those not in the top earning brackets.

Newsweek has reached out to Burton via Twitter direct message for comment.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.


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