Coronavirus prompts NFL’s Roger Goodell to forego salary as league staffers take pay cuts

NFL employees with title of manager or above will take salary reductions

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell voluntarily reduced his salary to $0 this month as part of cost-cutting measures that included pay cuts for top executives and furloughs for some employees due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Goodell first approached the NFL’s compensation committee about taking a pay cut in March and the reduction took effect earlier this month, a person with knowledge of the situation told FOX Business. He earns $30 million to $40 million per year, including performance incentives.

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In a memo to staffers at the NFL’s league office in New York, Goodell noted the pandemic’s “economic effects will be deeper and longer lasting than anyone anticipated.”

“The NFL is not immune to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is our obligation to take responsible steps to protect the business and manage through this crisis as effectively as possible,” Goodell said. “These decisions were difficult and we know these measures will cause hardship for those impacted.”

NFL employees with the title of manager or above will take salary reductions. The pay cuts will be 5 percent for managers, 7 percent for directors, 10 percent for vice presidents, 12 percent for senior vice presidents and 15 percent for executive vice presidents.

The pay cuts will not impact league staffers earning less than $100,000, and no employee will see their pay drop below $100,000. Furloughs for employees that are unable to work remotely and have experienced a major impact to their day-to-day responsibilities will begin May 8.

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It’s unclear how many employees will be furloughed. Goodell said the furloughs are temporary, adding the league hopes to bring back the affected employees “within a few months” but could not be sure about a timeline. Furloughed employees will maintain their benefits.

In addition, the NFL has frozen all hiring and staff salaries and enacted an organization-wide review for further potential cost-cutting measures.

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“I encourage everyone to continue to identify ways of operating more efficiently and reducing costs.  If we do that, I believe that furloughs and compensation reductions can be limited, or in time even reversed,” Goodell said.

NFL team facilities have been shuttered since March in order to comply with shelter-in-place orders and restrictions on mass gatherings. The league has shifted its offseason player program to video conferences and conducted the 2020 NFL Draft in a fully virtual format last week.

At present, the NFL is proceeding as if the 2020 season will begin as scheduled this September.

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