As one of the most controversial stars in the National Football League, Ndamukong Suh is not one to mince words. In a recent interview with Business Insider, Suh went on record with his displeasure regarding the amount of taxes he is expected to pay as a professional athlete.

A breakdown of the Tax structure

As per the law, athletes in the U.S pay 37% of their gross income as taxes. On top of that, individual states also charge taxes. Players also pay what is commonly referred to as “jock tax”. This is tax paid by an athlete to individual states where the athlete has played during the year. Additionally, taxation also applies to bonuses an athlete earns even if they were competing overseas.

According to Ndamukong Suh, if you factor in all these taxes and add other expenses such as agent fees, close to half of a player’s salary is accounted for before they end up seeing a dime.

Implications of the exorbitant tax structure

According to Ndamukong Suh, an athlete can easily end up broke even if they earn a 9 figure salary with such a tax structure in place.

In Ndamukong Suh’s view, the effects of high taxation also trickle down to family members. Many athletes are bread winners and their families rely on them for a living. With the government taxing athletes at such rates, it is putting the lives of many of their dependents at risk.

The Backlash

As you can imagine, there was a substantial amount of citizens who did not appreciate Mr. Suh’s point of view. One gentleman commented “Let’s assume his income truly is cut in half. That reduced amount is still exponentially more than I could make in my entire life time. I don’t feel bad for him in the slightest, and I think it’s incredibly tone deaf for him to complain about a contract worth well over $100 million.”


The response to Suh’s comments was not all negative. In fact, there were multiple people on social media who came out in support of Suh’s statements.

One Facebook user stated “If you take the fame and the amount of the contract out of the equation, this is just a guy who is unhappy that he is losing nearly half of his paycheck to the government. I think that’s something that most of us could relate to, and we should celebrate that a public figure has come forward to initiate a conversation about how heavily we are taxed.”

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