It’s been more than two months since Broncos wide receiver and former South Carolina star Kenny McKinley died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Since then, the story has seemed to grow more tragic, if possible. The latest: An investigative report obtained by the Associated Press that suggests that McKinley had a gambling problem and faced mounting debts to a teammate and others.
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. …
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 report paints a picture of a young player whose life was spiraling out of control despite the best efforts of those around him to help. Tom Brandstater, then with the Broncos, loaned McKinley $65,000 and tried to help him hash out how to fix his financial situation. The mother of his child told investigators she planned to return the increased child support a court awarded her because she knew he couldn’t afford it.
The report also indicates that McKinley bought the gun he used the in the suicide from teammate Jabar Gaffney, though the purchase was long before McKinley shot himself and authorities say the sell was legal. Whether that’s any comfort to Gaffney, who could not possibly have known what McKinley would end up using the gun for, isn’t known.