Everything That’s Wrong With The NFL Is Wrong With America, Too
By Richard RJ Eskow, Crooks And Liars
September 25, 2014 8:00 am
The NFL organization has 1,856 employees and paid $107.7 million per year in salaries last year. Goodell was paid more than $44 million. That means more than 40 percent of the organization’s entire payroll went to one individual.
Most of Goodell’s income was in the form of a “bonus” based on performance standards which, like that of many corporate CEOs, have never been publicly defined.
Roger Goodell is not a “job creator,” even by the right’s loose definition. He – like most corporate CEOs nowadays – invented nothing, made nothing, and built nothing. And the gravy train doesn’t stop at his house. Jeff Pash, the General Counsel, was paid $6,199,000. The EVP of Business Ventures got $4,180,000. The CFO made nearly $2 million. The EVPs of Operations and Human Resources made more than $1.6 million each. (Another executive, the EVP of media, was paid $26 million by an “affiliated” organization.)
All told, more than 54 percent of the organization’s entire payroll went to five individuals – the organization’s top 0.0027 percent. The remaining 43 percent or so was divided among 1,851 employees- the 99.9973 percent.
Executives like Goodell – or, for that matter, bank CEOs like JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon – seem to be compensated more for their ability to influence elected officials than for their business acumen. On that score, at least, he’s been a good investment. In addition to protecting its tax status, Goodell’s NFL has brokered loans, bonds and tax concessions for its franchises.
The NFL had annual gross receipts of $184.3 million in 2010 – and that doesn’t include earnings for the individual franchises which own it. It reported $788,113,036 in total assets on the tax-exemption form which is its only public disclosure. It gave exorbitant salaries to its top executives – and it paid no taxes.
As for his accomplishments, well … Under his leadership the NFL fought reports of player head injuries for years. Its security apparatus and legal teams have intervened when its players are arrested, often for violent crimes, securing special treatment which ordinary citizens don’t receive. It has fostered a culture of misogyny, brutality, and amorality in the field of sport, whose stars were once considered examples for young people to follow,
Goodell’s football league isn’t an example for today’s corporatized America. It’s a reflection of it.
Bill Simmons Suspended by ESPN for Tirade on Roger Goodell
By RICHARD SANDOMIR, The New York Times
SEPT. 24, 2014
Simmons, on his Grantland.com podcast, repeatedly called Goodell a liar for saying that he had not seen the elevator video of Rice punching his fiancée.
Simmons calmly delivered his harshly critical remarks while peppering them with obscenity – an incendiary brew, especially considering ESPN’s business relationship with the N.F.L. on “Monday Night Football,” the college draft and other programming.
On his Grantland podcast, Simmons said: “Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying. If you put him up on a lie-detector test, that guy would fail.” He added: “I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell, because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone.”
Bill Simmons suspension highlights uneasy, $15 billion relationship between the NFL and ESPN
By Terrence McCoy, Washington Post
September 25 at 6:20 AM
The suspension highlights the uneasy – though lucrative and mutually beneficial – relationship between the two powerful acronyms, joined in a $15.2-billion contract over “Monday Night Football.” It also hints at questions over a conflict of interest that, despite its strong coverage of the Ray Rice scandal, ESPN has never been able to shake. How can ESPN simultaneously cover the NFL as a subject while reaping billions from their business ties?
His suspension immediately sparked concern among reporters and editors. “Did ESPN have any idea how all of this would look?” asked Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce.
“Apparently saying Roger Goodell is a liar is a much worse offense than Roger Goodell lying,” added Judd Legum, the editor of ThinkProgress. “Is it ESPN’s corporate position that Roger Goodell is not a liar? Because their own reporting says he is a liar.”
The suspension comes at a particularly inconvenient time for ESPN, which just got done patting itself on the back for excising its conflict-of-interest demons. The piece, written by network ombudsman Robert Lipsyte, explicitly praised Simmons for excoriating Goodell. “The networks heavyweights – Keith Olbermann, Jason Whitlock and Bill Simmons, among others – delivered their own verbal punches,” he wrote in a blog. “I’d like to say I wasn’t the least bit surprised … but I was.”
In February 2004, ESPN canceled its popular series, “Playmakers,” after only one season. Despite the fact the series never mentioned the words “National Football League,” the football association was nonetheless offended by its sex-and-drugs portrayal of professional football players.
“It’s our opinion that we’re not in the business of antagonizing our partner, even though we’ve done it, and continued to carry it over the N.F.L.’s objections,” Mark Shapiro, ESPN’s executive vice president, told the New York Times. “To bring it back would be rubbing it in our partner’s face.”
The fraught relationship between ESPN and the NFL, however, came under its greatest scrutiny during what the network’s ombudsman called ESPN’s “darkest” hour. In August 2013, the New York Times reported ESPN abruptly terminated its affiliation with PBS’s “Frontline.” The network had teamed up with the show to produce an unsettling investigation into the league’s inaction regarding the crippling psychological effects football can have on players.
Though the NFL denied it pressured ESPN to ditch the project, high-level executives from both entities had, according to the New York Times, a “combative” meeting at a Manhattan restaurant over the documentary. ESPN President John Skipper told the network’s ombudsman he thought the trailer promoting the documentary was “sensational” and some of the comments in it were “over the top. … I am the only one at ESPN who has to balance the conflict between journalism and programming.”