President Obama said he won't get involved in the NFL's labor dispute as the league on Thursday heads toward a potential lockout.
The president said it is his expectation and hope that the league can work out a new collective bargaining agreement with players, though that might not happen before Thursday night when the last collective bargaining agreement expires.
"The two parties should be able to work it out without the president of the United States intervening," Obama said at a press availability at the White House following his meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderón.
The president said he's simply too busy and didn't think it would be appropriate for him to insert himself into the labor dispute.
League owners are looking to take home a larger share of the league's general revenues and want to add two games to the official schedule, bringing the regular season to 18 games.
The NFL Players Association (NFLPA), an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, has meanwhile been working political levers aggressively, meeting on Capitol Hill with key lawmakers.
Though a lockout could formally go into effect this evening, the start of the next pro football season remains far away. The risk of political involvement in the labor dispute is seen as a low probability at this point, though it's one that could rise if negotiations reach an impasse and the season comes under threat.
"You've got owners, most of whom are worth close to a billion dollars. You've got players making a million dollars," Obama said, noting the stakes of the negotiations.
At a time when most families are cutting back, the president said, he hoped the league and players could figure out how to divide up revenues "in a sensible way."