Hours before a likely owners’ lockout of National Football League players, President Obama at a press conference was asked to weigh in. He showed no inclination to do so, other than to tell both sides to get their acts together.
“You've got owners, most of whom are worth close to a billion dollars; you've got players who are making millions of dollars,” President Obama said. “At a time when people are having to cut back, compromise and worry about making the mortgage and, you know, paying for their kid's college education…the two parties should be able to work it out without the president of the United States intervening.”
The president, a Chicago Bears fan who refused to announce whom he was rooting for in the Super Bowl, said, “I'm a big football fan, but I also think that for an industry that's making $9 billion a year in revenue, they can figure out how to divide it up in a sensible way and be true to their fans, who are the ones who obviously allow for all the money that they're making.”
NFL owners take $1 billion off the top of the $9 billion for expenses, and NFL players take almost 60 percent of the remaining revenue. The owners want to take another $1 billion off the top.
President Obama said his expectation and hope is that two side would resolve the conflict “without me intervening -- because it turns out I've got a lot of other stuff to do."
The president made his remarks at a brief joint press availability with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who added that he isn’t an expert on the subject, though his wife is.
“I will ask her about it,” Calderon said. “I'm sure that she's very concerned about the situation. But allow me to say that football is very important for many Mexicans.” Switching to English, Calderon said “with the exception of money you can count on help.”
President Obama noted that at the White House State Dinner for Calderon last May, “the first lady of Mexico seemed quite excited to see Mark Sanchez there,” a reference to the handsome New York Jets quarterback.
“I don't know if that was of concern to you,” President Obama joked with his Mexican counterpart.