February 19, 2014
Commissioner of the National Football League
345 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10154
Dear Mr. Goodell:
The New York Times reports that your compensation package in 2012 was $44.2 million or nearly $25,000 an hour, day after day, week after week! That is an astonishingly avaricious sum for running a non-profit institution overseeing for profit football teams larded with special tax breaks, antitrust exemptions, and playing in football stadiums mostly built with taxpayer money. All this for an industry that espouses monopolistic capitalism and whose bylaws prevent any more teams to be organized, like the community-owned Green Bay Packers.
The strategy behind this prohibition is to accord full flexibility for NFL member teams to extort a variety of corporate welfare subsidies from municipalities, with a veiled threat to move the team to another city if these freebies are not given. Obviously a community owned team, like Green Bay would not be likely to misbehave in this manner. You should lead the way in revoking this bylaw.
Your compensation is vast when compared with those Board of Directors’ ditto pay packages given to the CEOs of companies with far larger annual revenues and global operations. Even your outgoing executive vice president for media was paid the outlandish sum of $26.1 million in one year, according to the Times.
Moreover, the IRS charitable division should examine your compensation in the light of your immense rewards. The purpose of the non-profit designation in the words of one commentator – “to provide a service that can’t be provided by the market” clearly does not apply to your excessively profitable operation, which functions more like a cartel than traditional non-profit.
Your response is welcomed.
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate and founder of League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
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- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon