New York Giants linebacker Devon Kennard is good with money. He avoids unnecessary purchases. He even brought his high school car with him to the NFL. When he invests, it's usually in relatively safe, long-term bets, like real estate.
But after bitcoin briefly topped $19,000, the cryptocurrency frenzy infiltrated NFL locker rooms, and Kennard was one of many players in the league who couldn't resist the hype.
"I'm going to be honest, I downloaded Coinbase and put a couple hundred dollars in," he tells CNBC Make It. That was a few months back. In February, bitcoin has plunged alongside global stock markets. Kennard has lost money.
He laughs that off. Luckily, he was prepared for disappointment after hearing what Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett had to offer on the topic.
"I can say almost with certainty that they will come to a bad ending," the Oracle of Omaha told CNBC in January.
"Warren Buffett has been right a lot more than I've been right when it comes to finances, so I don't know if I'm going to bet against him," says Kennard.
Besides, risking anything more than a couple hundred dollars would have gone against one of his investment principles. "For me, a rule of thumb is, if I don't understand it, I'm not going to invest in it," he says. "I don't know if I'm ever going to fully understand bitcoin."
This perspective also echoes Buffett's. "I get into enough trouble with things I think I know something about," the CEO said. "Why in the world should I take a long or short position in something I don't know anything about?"
Some players, however, haven't been so cautious. In spite of cryptocurrency's unpredictability, Kennard says a few fellow Giants have invested a lot.
NFL star Richard Sherman, a cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, told CNBC Make It that he owns bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum. He's also a spokesperson for the cryptocurrency trading platform Cobinhood and an investor in their coin, COB.
Still, Sherman acknowledges digital currencies are risky. Other experts, including Jim Cramer, Kevin O'Leary and Tony Robbins, described it in 2017 as gambling and recommended you only use money you are willing to lose.
For the most part, Kennard prefers putting money in more traditional assets. "I like to be able to control my investments a little more and have a little more say," he says. "[I want] to be very smart with the money that I make now, because the money that I make now — if I invest it right and if I save it — can multiply and become much more."
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Video by Richard Washington