As more proof that SB Nation is highly respected by the NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell and General Counsel Jeff Pash held a conference call with SB Nation's NFL bloggers, including Baltimore Beatdown this afternoon. A few of us were lucky enough to get the chance to ask a question and when my time came, I asked Goodell a three-part question on a variety of topics.
My first question was whether or not the NFL had a specific date on the calendar that if reached, would signal a delay to the 2011 season starting on time? Goodell answered that there was no firm date and they were currently working on the full schedule with the thought that while it needed to have flexibility, he expected it to be a full and complete season.
My second question was that both the Commissioner and his General Counsel agreed to drop their salaries to $1 each this season in response to the labor issue. I asked him how he could justify their current $10 (Goodell) and $5 (Pash) million salaries in the first place? Goodell responded that he wasn't sure of the question but thanked me for reminding him of his $1 salary! Pash interjected that he was hired to get a deal done and since it hasn't happened, he couldn't justify being paid.
My third question was to represent the hard and more importantly the legitimate work that we do here at SB Nation and so I asked Goodell what the NFL could do to help SB Nation NFL bloggers get full media credentials from their NFL teams? Goodell passed that question off to NFL spokeman, Brian McCarthy, who said that issue had to be discussed offline with Jim (SB Nation CEO Jim Bankoff).
(UPDATED: Click on the 'Jump' to read the transcript from my questions to NFL Commissioner Goodell and click here for the link to the SB Nation article on this exclusive opportunity.)
On specific date on your schedule that the official season becomes delayed:
Lowered salary to $1 from $10 and $5 million annually, but how can you justify your salaries in a good year:
Roger Goodell: We do not have a firm date. We have been focused on negotiations and trying to get resolution to this. Obviously the uncertainty of not having an agreement – we’re in the midst of constructing our 2011 playing schedule. We have to try to obviously plan for flexibility on that. We are planning on a full season. We are preparing for a full season. And we certainly hope to be playing a full season.
As far as the $1, I’m not sure what the question is, but I can tell you I appreciate you reminding me of the $1 salary. I’m sure Mr. Pash does to. What it represents quite simply is these are unique times, it is a shared sacrifice, that not only the clubs and players are feeling, but we have a group of close to 1,000 employees, and then when you add on the club level 6,000 other employees that are all being impacted by this. We felt that it was important for two of the key people in the negotiations to be responsive and recognize that it is a shared sacrifice.
Jeff Pash: My most important assignment was to try to get a labor agreement and I haven’t accomplished that yet. So it seems only appropriate to have that kind of a salary reduction.
What can you do for SB Nation bloggers to get full media credentials for their teams?
Brian McCarthy: Obviously you are important to us as evidenced by this call. A number of you were at the Draft with us last year. I think it will be an offline conversation with Jim to talk about this online issue with our clubs.