Football star D.J. Uiagalelei is not the first Golden Stater to consider a future in Nevada.
By James Freeman July 23, 2021 12:50 pm ET Wall Street Journal
News consumers have lately been amused by creative efforts to avoid explaining why people are fleeing California. But there is at least one forthright Californian willing to explain why he’s considering a future outside the Golden State.
Brad Senkiw of Sports Illustrated writes about college football quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, a former high school star at California’s St. John Bosco who will start for South Carolina’s Clemson University this fall. Mr. Senkiw reports on a Thursday press conference:
Uiagalelei didn’t grow up with a favorite NFL team. He was more of a college guy. But he’s already picked out his next destination.
“The team I want to go to is whatever team doesn’t have state taxes,” Uiagalelei said.
Smart man. He did say he’s always [liked] the Raiders, and Las Vegas meets his tax requirements and is three hours away from his hometown, so he’d like to end up there, Uiagalelei said.
Assuming the Clemson quarterback was referring to income taxes, other NFL teams that would seem to meet his requirements are located in Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Washington state. There’s every indication that he will soon be generating a lot of income.
Alexis Cubit reports for The State:
The sophomore Tiger handled the spotlight well during his first official preseason news conference as Clemson’s starting quarterback.
In fact, his presence here was somewhat out of the ordinary. Tigers football coach Dabo Swinney doesn’t normally bring underclassmen to ACC Kickoff, which is a testament to Uiagalelei.
“It’s the intangibles that make him special,” Swinney said.
Sounds about right. Known for his poise and exceptional work ethic, Mr. Uiagalelei says he does not believe it is possible to prepare too much for a game. When called upon last year, he certainly seemed prepared. Ms. Cubit notes:
Uiagalelei had some practice with being in the national spotlight after starting in two games last season against Boston College and Notre Dame, throwing for 342 and 439 yards, respectively.
He got the nod when Trevor Lawrence, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was out with COVID-19.
Since moving to Florida, perhaps Mr. Lawrence has shared with his Clemson successor the pleasures of working in a state with pro-growth tax policy.
Even while he remains a college player, Mr. Uiagalelei already has to think about tax implications. Thanks to a new national policy allowing a college athlete to benefit commercially from his name, image and likeness, this week the Clemson quarterback announced an endorsement deal with the fast-food chain Bojangles.
Ms. Cubit has more from the quotable Californian on his arrival to attend college in South Carolina:
“I remember one thing coming down here to the South,” he explained. “One thing I definitely learned is Jesus is number one here, then it goes football, and then it goes people love Bojangles down here.”
Hard as it may be to argue with those priorities, the Clemson sophomore is also wisely considering the tax consequences as he grows his income. As he evaluates potential NFL landing spots, it’s not too early to consider the state economies that surround the teams. A Journal editorial today notes that his home state is not exactly a hotbed of expanding opportunity:
While California makes up 12% of the U.S. population, it accounted for only about 9% of employment growth last month… California’s labor force has declined 2.8%, or about 540,000 workers, since February 2020.
Among states that have lately been adding jobs much more rapidly than California is Florida, which according to the Tax Foundation has the best overall business tax climate among states with NFL teams. In Jacksonville of course the Jaguars are hoping that Mr. Lawrence will be their leader for years to come. But about 200 miles to the southwest there’s a team that might be looking for a new quarterback right around the time that Mr. Uiagalelei arrives in the league. Naledi Ushe reports for People:
[Tom Brady] said on Wednesday’s episode of SiriusXM Town Hall, hosted by Jim Gray, that he wants to play until he’s 45 years old before evaluating retirement. “Things change as you get older and there’s a lot of different responsibilities I have in my life,” he said…
“I play because I love the game. I play because I love to compete,” Brady told Gray, 61. “We shouldn’t stop our life, even though we love something because it’s just, someone puts an arbitrary timeline on that.”
He added, “And I felt for a long time, I could play until I was 45 years old. I think I committed to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to play till I’m 45.’ And this year I’ll be 44, which naturally takes me to the next year. I’ve got a two-year contract. We’ll see what happens beyond that.”
In the meantime, Mr. Brady will be able to keep much of what he earns in Tampa, Fla.