Joe Robbie -- another NFL owner chafing to get out of an allegedly dilapidated stadium -- balances his deprecation of the Orange Bowl by claiming depreciation on some of his Miami Dolphin athletes. Now it's the Internal Revenue Service's turn to cry.
On his tax returns, Robbie has been depreciating the players he purchased from other clubs since the Dolphins were formed in 1966 -- using the purchase price as a base. For example, if he pays the Cowboys $200,000 for a player, he claims $40,000 depreciation on that player for five years. "No different than the cost of office furniture," Robbie contends.
IRS contends otherwise and claims he owes more than $600,000 in back taxes for 1975-76. Coach Don Shula also is delinquent, $38,000 worth, the tax collector claims, from the period in which he owned a piece of the Dolphins. The dispute has just been turned over to the U.S. Tax Court.
As for a new ball park, Robbie, after periodic feelers from adjacent Broward County, has made a pitch to Dade County -- if it will build a 80,000-seater, he is "confident" the Super Bowl would come to Miami every third year. Generous Joe offered to help out by sticking ticket-buyers with a surcharge to help cover the projected $60 million cost.
But forget the Orange Bowl, he told an "Orange Bowl Summit" of 50 community leaders. No new stadium, bye-bye Miami when the Dolphin lease expires after 1986 . . .
When a feller needs a friend -- Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Cliff Harris and Bob Breunig have kicked in $2,000 apiece in loans to help Dallas Cowboy teammate Mike Hegman, the linebacker, repay the $10,534 he allegedly wrote on bogus checks.
The District attorney's office says, however, that even if the bank files an affidavit of nonprosecution, the case will go forward -- "just like in a bank robbery, just because somebody makes restitution doesn't do away with the fact a crime has been committed."
Maximum penalty: 2 to 10 years in prison, $5,000 fine . . .
The boys basketball teams of Spingarn, Dunbar and McKinley and the girls of H. D. Woodson, Ballou and McKinley were honored yesterday at the first Youth Athletic Achievement Awards ceremonies at the D.C. Starplex Club. Those were the top threes in Interhigh competition of the D.C. public schools, and Mayor Marion Barry "came up with the idea . . . to reward them for success. I look forward to (doing it) every year."
Spingarn received the Marion S. Barry Medallion and a trophy from WRC-TV as the area's No. 1 team. Check Parade magazine in Sunday's Post for another big basketball salute to a big Spingarn personage. . . .
Bill Walton out for the season, Lloyd Free out for the regular season, and the San Diego Clippers rival the Bullets for a deflated NBA outfit. Walton's medics have ordered the big guy off his sore foot for fear another stress fracture develops due to his "abnormally high arch." Free, the 30.4 point-a-gamer, has partly separated cartilage where a rib joins the sternum. Though reminded his surprise team still can make the playoffs, Coach Gene Shue comments, "Not that it means a lot."
One consolation: Dr. Tony Daly says of Walton's condition, "I don't think this is career-ending." Maybe . . .