SBD/January 22, 2013/Sports In Society

Mickelson Issues Apology Over Tax Comments, Says It Should Be A "Personal Matter"

Mickelson said finances are a "personal matter" and should have been kept private
Golfer Phil Mickelson last night released a statement "apologizing to anyone upset or insulted by" comments he made Sunday about the new Proposition 30 tax law in California, according to the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The statement read in part, "Right now I’m like many Americans who are trying to understand the new tax laws. I’ve been learning a lot over the last few months and talking with people who are trying to help me make intelligent and informed decisions. I certainly don’t have a definitive plan at this time, but like everyone else I want to make decisions that are best for my future and my family." He continued, "Finances and taxes are a personal matter and I should not have made my opinions on them public. I apologize to those I have upset or insulted and assure you I intend not to let it happen again" (UTSANDIEGO.com, 1/21). Mickelson earns over $40M a year both on- and off-the-course, and CNBC's Joe Kernen said he has seen people saying Mickelson "should be happy” with $10M after the high tax rate because “how could he need more than” $10M? Kernen added, “It almost seems like it’s being seized.” CNBC’s Becky Quick said, “Part of it is the problems with the tax code, too. I wonder what his changes are going to be. It could be leaving California. I wonder if it’s leaving the country or if it’s something even more.” Kernen said of Mickelson’s comments, “It’s rare (for) golfers. If they do say something controversial, it’s about a putter or grooves on your wedge” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 1/22). Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella said Mickelson’s comments were poorly timed and that he “was rolling off a week of feelgood at the Humana Challenge where the message is about wellness and fitness and general health" (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 1/22).

LOSING THE PR BATTLE? Mickelson's apology drew some ire on Twitter, with Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt writing, "Speaking on behalf of thinking, working people, we accept." The Chicago Tribune's Philip Hersh wrote, "Poor baby Phil Mickelson. Headed to poorhouse because he has to pay taxes." CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel wrote, "Hard to be you, Phil. ... I hear you all: a 63-percent tax rate is absurd, if that's what Mickelson pays. But listening to a $100-millionaire complain about $... yuck." GolfChannel.com's Jason Sobel wrote, "Many of you saying Mickelson shouldn’t have to apologize for comments. And I agree. But here’s the thing: He didn’t have to. He just did."
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