NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Voluntarily Forgoes Salary as Coronavirus Pandemic Continues

Roger Goodell has not earned a paycheck in weeks, the NFL confirmed to PEOPLE

Roger Goodell
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell voluntarily gave up his salary as coronavirus began to sweep through the nation and cause the suspension of all major professional sports leagues.

ESPN recently obtained an email from Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II that included a memo written by 61-year-old Goodell mentioning he had approached the NFL's compensation committee in March to request his salary be cut to $0.

When reached by PEOPLE, the NFL confirmed Goodell had made the request, which was later approved by the committee.

"I wanted to make you aware that yesterday afternoon the Compensation Committee reviewed and approved these measures," Rooney wrote in the email, ESPN reported. "It is important to note that the Commissioner and his staff took the initiative to implement these measures as responsible steps in light of the economic uncertainty facing all businesses. Obviously, these are steps we all would prefer not to have to take, and the League office remains committed to planning for a full season in 2020."

"In addition to the steps outlined in the memo, last month the Commissioner requested that he voluntarily reduce his salary to $0, which went into effect earlier this month," the email continued.

Bob Leverone, File/AP

According to USA Today, Goodell earns around $4 to 5 million in salary, annually, and receives $40 million in total annual compensation.

The NFL also announced additional financial decisions in response to coronavirus. Employees making at least $100,000 would see their pay cut between 5 and 15 percent, depending on their rank, while staffers making less than $100,000 will not see any reductions.

According to Rooney's memo, some employees will be placed on furlough beginning May 8, USA Today reported.

The NFL has maintained for weeks that it would move forward with the start of the regular season in early September, though they remained open to changes depending on future health recommendations.

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“We’re still in March, so it’s quite a few months between now and when our season would begin,” NFL executive vice president and general counsel Jeff Pash said last month. “The belief and the information that we have is leading us to continue on focusing on a season that starts on time and played in a normal way.”

Weeks after Pash's comments, coronavirus remains a threat in the United States and around the world. With training camp scheduled to take place in July, it is becoming increasingly likely the NFL will have to shorten — or at the very least, postpone — their upcoming season.

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