President Obama on NFL commish: I cannot believe he gets paid $44 million a year

President Obama on NFL commish: I cannot believe he gets paid $44 million a year

Published Nov. 17, 2015 2:48 p.m. ET

Barack Obama did not seek the office of the president for the salary. In 2014, Obama earned approximately $400,000 in salary and about $95,000 from book royalties.

Roger Goodell, son of a U.S. senator from New York, probably didn’t start as an NFL intern in 1982 expecting to eventually rise to the top and earn an incredible amount of money each year. But he made it, and his compensation reached a reported $44 million for the year ending in 2013.

During an interview for GQ, Bill Simmons asked Obama about becoming a pro sports commissioner with a couple of follow-ups, and the president gave amusing responses that touched on the matter of compensation. Take a look:

Simmons: Baseball, football, basketball, all the commissioner jobs open up next year. Which one would you want?


Well, I’m best suited for basketball. But I cannot believe that the commissioner of football gets paid $44 million a year.

Simmons: When you said, “I cannot believe…,” I didn’t know where you were going with that. Have you thought about calling Roger Goodell and being like, “What are you doing? Can I help you?” [Obama laughs.] “Can I give you some advice? Want to have dinner?”

Obama: They’re making a profit, and I think that’s what the owners are most concerned with.

Simmons: So you think the owners like having him there?

Obama: You’re not going to drag me into your fights, man. Come on -- I’ve got enough fights of my own. [laughs] This is between you and Roger.

Obama certainly understands the economic of sports and to be sure, I do not think he has any problem with Goodell’s salary. It’s just a staggering number that’s difficult to grasp like many other athlete salaries, such as Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus -- a .238 hitter in 2015 -- who recently accepted a one-year offer worth $15.8 million.

Obama and Simmons also discussed the state of Chicago sports and in response to a question about acting under pressure, Obama referenced Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, saying, “You can’t be distracted by what’s around you; you’ve got to be looking downfield.”