A statement issued from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the headlines in a wide variety of media. I understand that Mr. Goodell will cut his salary to $1 if there is a work stoppage after the current agreement with owners and NFL players expires in March. Further, news reports indicate that Mr. Goodell currently receives an income including bonuses of about $10M a year. This salary is the equivalent of the combined incomes of 200 typical income producing American families. Overall only one in approximately 6,315 households is in the Goodell league in terms of income. In terms of ranking, the Commissioner is in the ozone layer of our economic system! He is above 99.984% of U.S. workers.
There is something else that concerns me about the attention this story is receiving. The media treats this as a rare instance of a rich guy working for $1 a year. But it’s only for one year. How many years before and how many years after is the $10M figure the norm for him?
Some very wealthy people in this country work for less than a $1 a year. I was recently reminded of this by the dean of a private school who said, “There are several of our faculty [full time] who take no income. They attended school here; they made their fortunes, and returned to teach.” A former univeristy colleague of mine who was indeed wealthy also worked throughout his tenure for $1 a year. Now I find that these wealthy “volunteers” are more common that I once imagined. Could it be that they do not seek the publicity for their contributions like some in the NFL bureaucracy?