By Matt Vensel
4:00 PM EST, March 4, 2011
Ravens center Matt Birk appeared on "The Norris & Davis Show" on 105.7 The Fan this morning to discuss the NFL labor negotiations, which will last another week after the league and the players' union agreed this afternoon on a seven-day extension of the collective bargaining agreement.
"I think as the [original Thursday] deadline got close, the owners realized you can’t just lock the players out, that there’s some legal actions and ramifications to that so I think that the extension was more of a chance [for them to] maybe talk to the lawyers and figure out how to go about this," Birk told Ed Norris and Steve Davis.
"At some point I think there’s some fundamental differences between the owners and the players, and the revenue sharing is going to have to be addressed and a compromise is going to have to be reached."
On Thursday, President Barack Obama was asked about the NFL labor strife and whether he would intervene.
"I'm a big football fan," Obama said, "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.
"So my expectation and hope is that they will resolve it without me intervening. Because it turns out I've got a lot of other stuff to do."
Norris and Davis played that soundbite for Birk, and their guest was not a fan of Obama's comments.
"I don’t agree with a lot of the things the President just said right there in that clip," Birk said. "The one thing I do agree with is that I think we can find a way to work it out. This isn’t like some other situations in time in other sports where the owners are losing money, you know, and paychecks aren’t cashing and teams are folding up. … Owners are making money. Players are making money. So it would just be stupid if thing didn’t get resolved at some point.
So which of Obama's comments didn't he like?
"Well, he talked about the NFL being $9 billion, which is correct, but he kind of said it a little bit sarcastic," the 14-year NFL veteran said. "I mean, the U.S. government brings in a couple trillion [dollars], don’t you think they’d know how to balance the budget?"
"And 'millionaire players' isn’t really correct," Birk continued. "Most NFL players are not millionaires. They don’t make millions of dollars. But that’s OK. You know what, that kind of right there is the general feeling. … Billions and millionaires and nobody really cares about their problems. 'Work it out.'"
Birk was being genuine about that last part. Earlier in the interview, he compared the labor situation to the guy who mows his lawn telling him about how gas prices are on the rise. "I don't care," he said with a laugh. "Everyone's got their own problems."
Hopefully, the owners and players can work theirs out in the next week.
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