As you head to the post office or the IRS's website to pay your taxes, spare a thought for America's poor athletes, who are paying an average of $1 million apiece in taxes each year.
All right, "poor" doesn't really properly describe someone who makes enough to pay seven figures in taxes. A new study by Fields of Green, a USA Today project, indicates that NFL, NBA and MLB athletes will pay a total of $3 billion in taxes on their 2013 income. (For reference, the IRS will collect an estimated $2.5 trillion in income taxes for 2013.) Athletes' total salary in those three sports is estimated at $9 billion.
As Fields of Green notes, most athletes' income is taxed at the highest rate, 39.6 percent. They'll also pay an extra 0.9 percent on income more than $250,000 to help pay for the Affordable Care Act. Deductions only take the total rate to about 33 percent, leading to the $3 billion tax figure.
State taxes add an entirely new wrinkle. Many athletes pay exorbitant state taxes, which is why teams in Florida and Texas, with no state income tax, have an edge in recruiting free agents. Tiger Woods changed his state of residency from California to Florida early in his career to avoid California's high taxes; Phil Mickelson last year hinted that high taxes could force him to move from California.
Yes, it's tough to feel bad for someone who's got half a dozen zeroes in his paychecks. The problem comes in when these athletes don't realize that these paychecks aren't indefinite. “Wages for athletes can be huge but are earned over a relatively short period of time,” said Mitchell S. Halpern of O’Connor & Drew in Massachusetts. “The battle with an athlete is, if he’s making $10 million and taxes take half of that, he’s taking home $5 million. Is that paid over a lifetime? No. And their rate of spending can be, well, it’s amazing how much some guys can spend.”
Teams generally only withhold 25 percent of paychecks for taxes, and that can often leave athletes with a bit of tax shock come April 15. For their sake, they hopefully won't complain publicly about it.
Last season Djokovic 'destroyed' Nadal @ Monte Carlo final - in straight sets: 6-2, 7-6(1). Nadal couldn't even manage what Youzhny and Monaco were able to pull off @ Djokovic's opening and the next to opening match: Win a freaking set.
If that wasn't enough on it's own, Nadal was on his way to win the title for a record 9th STRAIGHT time. Think the two (straight sets and 9th straight) played a massively huge part in Nadal BARELY winning the Roland Garros title with 9-7 in the fifth set? It's possible. Add the history between the two since 2011 when Djokovic arrived and is there anything left for speculation?
Can we insert Djokovic's clumsy error in the fifth set @ Roland Garros too - to be a little more certain of what might happen if last year's drama is duplicated - JUST @ Monte Carlo - forget Madrid and Rome (Nadal didn't face Djokovic at these events last season)?
How about Djokovic winning two BACK TO BACK Masters 1000 titles at his last outing this year? Last one over Nadal in the final - in straight set mauling: 6-3, 6-3. Other one over Federer after losing to him @ Dubai - in effect reversing the negative.
That's a LOT of baggage on the momentum train for Nadal to COMPLETELY ignore if Djokovic wins Monte Carlo - over or under Nadal. There's NO freaking doubt Nadal HAS to be thinking about Federer's recent resurgence specially against Djokovic to bail him out - throughout the clay swing and specially @ Roland Garros.
Heck, given what Nadal has done this season @ 'that matter' events like the AO, Indian Wells and Miami - lost to Wawrinka, Dolgopolov (3rd round) and Djokovic - he may even consider himself lucky if he JUST wins Roland Garros and moves up to No. 14 at the expense of Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome. Nadal has won two Mickey Mouse tournaments @ Doha and Brazil this year.
That may not seem like a big deal considering the flipping of the switch mode Nadal has engaged on clay in the past @ nearly every season but this ISN'T every season, is it?
Nadal winning Monte Carlo - over Djokovic - may STILL not move the needle to green but will provide much needed fodder for boosting the confidence. However, Djokovic winning WILL swing the needle and the entire contraption out of whack from Nadal's perspective.
In the light of above, don't you think Federer accepting the wild card for Monte Carlo this late has Tony written all over it? Just as was Federer producing twins the first time? And the next set of twins are arriving around Wimbledon?
Translation: Tony has found the 'Fredo' in Federer's camp with promise of 'something of your own'. Wonder who could it be!!!!!!!!!
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: A general view during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain signs autographs on his way off the practice court during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Novak Djokovic of Serbia talks with coach Boris Becker in a practice session during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Now nobody can tell that I am still drunk. And eyes are not the only ones puffy nor are the hips.
Fernando Verdasco, of Spain, jumps in the River Oaks Country Club's pool after defeating Nicolas Almagro, of Spain, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the singles finals at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship tennis tournament on Sunday, April 13, 2014, in Houston, Texas. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Thomas B. Shea)
Spain's Fernando Verdasco, right, talks with countryman Nicolas Almagro after the final of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship tennis tournament Sunday, April 13, 2014, in Houston. Verdasco won 6-3, 7-6 (4). (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 13: Milos Raonic of Canada watches some tennis after speaking to the media during day one of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 13, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 13: Novak Djokovic of Serbia talks to the media during day one of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 13, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Excuse me but your reality is showing - from the back.
He is so lucky that the hair naturally fall to perfectly cover the baldness.
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 13: Rafael Nadal of Spain smiles as he talks to the media during day one of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 13, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Former President George H.W. Bush, center, is greeted courtside at the quarterfinals of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship, Friday, April 11, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Bob, left, and Mike Bryan celebrate their win over Spain's David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in the doubles final at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship tennis tournament Saturday, April 12, 2014, in Houston. The Bryan brothers won 4-6, 6-4, 11-9. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Forget the freaking talent and consider the existence of a potion that BOTH Ali and Jordan or any other athlete lacked to catapult the subject to beyond immortal stratosphere. OK, maybe Ali did - partially - but even that strain pales in the extreme concentrated power of the booty Federer was bestowed with. Have a clue? No, you don't!!!!!!!
Road to top of the totem pole is NOT reserved for the MOST talented or even for the one who realized a portfolio matching perfectly the skill pool - as there are MANY who are considered far more talented than what the stats reveal.
That top perch demands resistance - more the better. Heck, it doesn't even care what form it's experienced in.
Nadal was THE gift for Federer to reinforce his claim to be the greatest athlete of ALL time - indisputably. Instead Federer has turned out to be THE gift - for Nadal.
Oh, what did you say? If Federer had dominated Nadal specially on clay and @ Roland Garros, the juice would be missing?
Yeah, but try this:
Federer FIRST faced Nadal when he was JUST 23 years-old. Nadal thrashed him in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. Want more? It was on a hard court.
Point? If Federer had AT LEAST, forget dominated, narrowly defeated Nadal EVERYWHERE and specially at Roland Garros UNTIL he turned say 27, then BOTH arguments would have passed the disputable territory.
And what are the two?
1. Nadal goes on rampage after Federer's 27th birthday specially on clay to still be declared the greatest clay court player EVER.
2. Federer is 'allowed' to lean on the 'he was past his prime' alibi to STILL claim to have stopped a beast.
Above would have added an invaluable intangible virus to the numbers Federer would have posted then to push him beyond debate - FOR EVER. ALL that if Nadal had even somehow matched the Slam total. Now Nadal is casting a shadow even without No. 17.
So what's really to blame? How about laziness? Yup, that's freaking it - at the root - the Hare and the Tortoise kind.