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Birk Takes Issue With Obama’s Comments

It seems like everyone is weighing in on the recent labor talks in the NFL – even the President.

“My working assumption, at a time when people are having to cut back and compromise and worry about making the mortgage and paying for their kids college education, is that the two parties should be able to work it out without the President of the United States intervening,” Obama 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.”

So it appears at least for now that Washington has no plans to get involved. But the perception is clear that even the most powerful man in the world feels this dispute is between two sides that make tons of money.

Ravens Center Matt Birk disagrees with that assessment and said so in a recent interview with 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore.

“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.

“Well, he talked about the NFL being $9 billion, which is correct, but he kind of said it a little bit sarcastic. I mean, the U.S. government brings in a couple trillion, don’t you think they’d know how to balance the budget?” And ‘millionaire players’ isn’t really correct. Most NFL players are not millionaires. They don’t make millions of dollars, but that’s okay. 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 is considered by many to be one of the smartest players in not just football but sports. I mean he is a Harvard grad which stands for something. But his comments really made me wonder if the perception of millionaire players was accurate.

If you went strictly by the numbers the average player salary is about 1.5 million. I say that because the divide between the highest paid such as Peyton Manning (15 Million) and a rookie who plays on Special Teams (295,000 league minimum) is vast. Because of such wide variation it may be difficult to figure just what the “average” player might make.

When you start crunching the numbers to me it seems like splitting hairs. The “average” American is making 35 to 40 K a year at their job so there isn’t much sympathy to go around. Players can always try their hand in the real world and see how they fare.

As the old saying goes – Perception is Reality. Fans and even the President perceive this situation as one that comes down to greed on both sides.

We just want to watch football in the Fall. So, work it out.


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