By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Perhaps you were having a pleasant little Tuesday, and if so, I apologize for the following message: Roger Goodell made a boatload of money in 2014.
It's no surprise, of course, as his salary has been well-documented in years past. But ESPN's Darren Rovell reported via tax filings that Goodell made $34.1 million in 2014.
The year 2014, of course, will go down as one that Goodell would like to forget. He badly mishandled the punishment of Ray Rice, a misstep that caught up to him later that year when TMZ released footage from inside the elevator where Rice punched his then-fiancee in the head and knocked her unconscious. The handling of the situation forced Goodell to launch an "independent" investigation, led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, to clear the commissioner and his staff of any misbehavior.
Goodell also suspended Adrian Peterson during the 2014 season, a ruling that was overturned in federal court.
The mismanagement by Goodell helped pave the way for "DeflateGate," the "scandal" that centered around claims that -- compared to domestic violence -- were mostly innocuous yet allowed the league to remain in the news cycle for a full calendar year.
Unfortunately, we may never find out whether the Rice fiasco or the DeflateGate crusade earned Goodell a raise or a pay cut in 2015, because that will be the first calendar year in which the league does not file under tax-exempt status. Ergo, Goodell's salary won't be public knowledge. (Being the forthright and transparent leader that he is, we can rightly assume that he'll go ahead and volunteer that information, right?)
(For the record, federal court cases showed in both the Ray Rice case and the Tom Brady "DeflateGate" case, Goodell misrepresented what the players told him in behind-closed-door meetings in an attempt to sway public opinion and make the accused parties appear to be more guilty than they may have been.)
Evidence of just how litigious the league has become under Goodell can be seen in the $7.51 million earned by NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, who was the second-highest paid NFL employee behind Goodell. That number almost assuredly rose in 2015, with all of the "DeflateGate" work, including the editing of the "independent" Wells report, done by Pash.
Of course, nobody can claim that high salaries for those in charge of the multi-billion dollar business. But, of course, most reasonable people would also assume that a semi-sentient robot could sit in the commissioner's chair on Park Avenue and manage to not derail the money-making train that is the NFL. Others still would argue that's exactly what's taking place at the current moment. Those people, however, would be mean.
According to Rovell, in total, since becoming commissioner in 2006, Goodell has made $180.5 million.
Anyway, hopefully your day or week isn't completely ruined. If so, take solace in the fact that there's only two weeks left until "DeflateGate" court proceedings kick back up again!
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