Roger Goodell’s suspended salary in 2020 led to record compensation

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When the pandemic began in 2020 and the world turned upside down, plenty of companies from coast to coast squeezed employees to take less money. Often for no reason other than they could.

For some companies, the people at the top set the example. If the boss is taking less, who are the rest of us to piss and/or moan?

At the top of the NFL, for example, Commissioner Roger Goodell slashed his salary to zero dollars and zero cents. That set the standard. It’s the way. It made it easier to persuade many others to take a much smaller reduction.

As noted by Daniel Kaplan of, when the dust settled on the 2020-21 fiscal year, Goodell made $63.9 million — the same as he had made in the previous fiscal year.

Via Kaplan, Goodell wasn’t alone. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan also took his salary to nothing. And yet, for 2020, he made $14.1 million, the most he has ever been paid in a single year by far.

So how does that happen when salary is sacrificed? Commissioners get bonuses. Big bonuses. Huge bonuses. So it’s easy to give up salary when salary pales in comparison to the big-ticket item for the year.

And, surely, the bonuses paid to Goodell and Monahan were driven by the ability to tighten the financial belt during the pandemic. As supported by their ultimately hollow gestures to give up any and all “salary.”

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