The Cleveland Browns have struggled winning games in recent years, and now must deal with the embarrassment of having a player winning illegally on Wall Street.
Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks was indicted on Wednesday for making $1.2M off insider trading tips.
Kendricks, a Cal-Berkeley graduate, paid for insider stock tips with perks like free game tickets, according to the indictment.
Kendricks got the tips from Damilare Sonoiki, a California investment banker and former writer for the ABC sitcom Black-ish, who was also indicted.
According to the indictment, Sonoiki allegedly tipped Kendricks off about four corporate deals in 2014 before the transactions were made public.
Kendricks issued a statement apologizing for his actions:
‘I would like to apologize,’ Kendricks said in a statement. ‘Four years ago, I participated in insider trading, and I deeply regret it. I invested money with a former friend of mine who I thought I could trust and who I greatly admired. His background as a Harvard graduate and an employee of Goldman Sachs gave me a false sense of confidence. To this point, I had worked my tail off since I was 5 years old to become a football player. I was drawn in by the allure of being more than just a football player. While I didn’t fully understand all of the details of the illegal trades, I knew it was wrong, and I wholeheartedly regret my actions.’
According to the indictment, Sonoiki and Kendricks often communicated in ways to avoid being caught, like texting in code and using FaceTime.
Kendricks is a talented inside linebacker who was Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Cal.
He was picked in the second round of the 2012 draft by Philadelphia, where he spent the first six years of his career, and was part of the Eagles’ Super Bowl championship team last season.
Kendricks played so well in his first three NFL seasons, he earned a second contract in 2015, signing a four-year deal with the Eagles for $29 million, with $16 million guaranteed.
Due to a scheme change last year, Kendricks lost playing time, and asked for a trade after the season. The Eagles ended up releasing him on May, 22, 2018. It’s unclear if his release was connected to the insider trading investigation.
Will the Browns now release him? It’s unclear, but he’s not making the trip with the team to their fourth preseason game.
“We are aware of the situation and in communication with the league office as we gather more information,” the Browns said in a statement. “Mychal will not make the trip to Detroit. We will comment further at the appropriate time.”
Kendricks claims he’s cooperated with federal officials throughout the investigatory process.
“Since the beginning of the investigation, I have fully cooperated with the authorities and will continue to do so,” Kendricks said in his statement. “I accept full responsibility for my actions. Although I did not take any of the profits for myself, I am committed to repaying all of the funds gained illegally and accept the consequences of my actions.”
It’s unclear if the consequences of his actions will lead to jail time, but they most certainly will lead to an NFL suspension.