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The Really Bizarre Part of the NFL Linebacker Insider Trading Story

By Motley Fool Staff - Sep 1, 2018 at 11:18AM

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While everyone’s focused on Mychal Kendricks, the Fools are more intrigued by the friend at Goldman Sachs who gave him the tips.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, now-former Cleveland Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks and ex Goldman Sachs analyst Damilare Sonoiki allegedly engaged in insider trading that yielded about $1.2 million for the athlete. Sonoiki, in return for his help, got some money and VIP perks.

But as host Mac Greer and Bill Mann, The Motley Fool's director of small-cap research, point out in this segment from the MarketFoolery podcast, the way the two men handled Kendrick's trades was not subtle. The football player may not have realized it, but Sonoiki should have known that getting caught by the SEC was inevitable.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Aug. 30, 2018.

Mac Greer: OK, Bill, our final story -- the sexy world of the Cleveland Browns and insider trading!

Bill Mann: I mean, I guess the good news is that it turns out that the Cleveland Browns are also bad at insider trading.

Greer: [laughs] Federal authorities announcing on Wednesday that Cleveland Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks and television writer and producer Damilare Sonoiki have been indicted on insider trading charges. Bill, we were joking about this beforehand. Insider trading, bad, bad, bad. But we're talking about the Cleveland Browns.

Mann: Yeah, this is such a cute story to me, in some ways. I would not expect of an NFL player that they would have a really great understanding of how insider trading is enforced and smoked out/ I would expect that a Goldman Sachs employee would know exactly how the SEC operates. So, what Kendricks did was, he had an $80,000 account that he opened, and using options just ahead of corporate actions and mergers, he turned it into $1.2 million. Which is pretty good return again over two years. Now, the thing that we know about Mychal Kendricks is that he has not signed an Aaron Rodgers-level $134 million contract. Aaron Rodgers, big fan of the show. But, it is amazing to me, the smash and grab-type tactics that they used to do this, because you're going to get caught. You're absolutely going to get caught. The SEC tracks so carefully what accounts do things right ahead of corporate actions. Whether Kendricks should or should not have known, he's come out and he's apologized, he apologized to his Browns teammates and his Eagles teammates. He was actually with the Eagles when he was doing this. But, Sonoiki absolutely should have known.

Greer: Yeah. With Kendricks, too, you just want to say, "Just buy an index fund. Don't overthink it."

Mann: Hey, you're an NFL guy. Just take your paycheck and put it in the index.

Greer: Put you on the phone with Jack Bogle.

Mann: Or Aaron Rodgers!

Greer: Do you want the S&P 500 index fund? You want the Total Market fund? That's a fun discussion to have, in some circles.

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