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President Obama weighs in on NFL’s referee lockout

s-OBAMA-FOOTBALL-large Getty Images

With tens of millions of Americans up in arms about the ending of Monday Night Football and the overall ineptitude of the NFL’s replacement referees, it’s not surprising that the president of the United States has weighed in.

President Obama took to Twitter today to say that he feels the frustration of football fans, noting that it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, you want to see the regular referees back on the field.

The question now is whether President Obama plans to do anything about it. Although the president has no legal authority to end the lockout, there’s a long history in the United State of presidents getting involved in labor issues, including President Theodore Roosevelt helping to end the Coal Strike of 1902 by appealing to the patriotism of both sides and reminding them that the strike was doing serious damage to the country.

In the grand scheme of things a lockout of NFL referees may seem too insignificant for the president to become involved in. But if we’ve learned anything in the morning after the Packers-Seahawks debacle, it’s that tens of millions of Americans want to see this issue come to an end. And Obama was already paying attention to the issue before Monday night, saying in an interview last week that he wanted the regular refs back.

At that time, however, Obama also added, “I can’t get involved in it, but I’m just expressing my point of view as a sports fan.” It may take a botched call costing the Bears a game for Obama to do more than express his point of view.

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58 Responses to “President Obama weighs in on NFL’s referee lockout”
  1. xstaticonradio says: Sep 25, 2012 2:01 PM

    “I think the replacement refs are doing an excellent job” – Mitt Romney

  2. thehatefulnerd says: Sep 25, 2012 2:02 PM


  3. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Sep 25, 2012 2:04 PM

    Reagan ended the air traffic controllers strike by firing all of them. The replacements did fine. Is NFL referee a harder job than air traffic controller?

  4. dcalifornian says: Sep 25, 2012 2:04 PM

    I signed the following petition, stating that yeah…I’m going to keep watching the games because I’m weak and I need my football fix, but that I’m not buying any Bud Light Lime-a-Rita or any other products advertising during NFL games until they sit down and work out a deal:

  5. longbino says: Sep 25, 2012 2:07 PM

    Ummm isn’t there ANYTHING more important for him to do? Please don’t get involved!

  6. logicalthinkersays says: Sep 25, 2012 2:07 PM

    PFT’s ability to pick photos for articles is unmatched.

  7. jmsincla says: Sep 25, 2012 2:08 PM


  8. cletusvandam says: Sep 25, 2012 2:10 PM

    I want the old refs back too, but both sides need to compromise. Saying the NFL should give them whatever they want just because they can afford it is ignorant. Taking sides and claiming replacement officials are somehow responsible for injuries, because they didn’t throw a flag after the fact is almost as bad.
    I also really hope that if/when the old refs do return that the spotlight is just as bright on them as it has been on the replacements.

  9. bigbaldpapahawk says: Sep 25, 2012 2:11 PM

    It’s good to know that while 1000’s of people are losing their jobs everyday and I am paying $4 a gallon for gas, that our President is concerned with Football.

  10. huskylawyer says: Sep 25, 2012 2:12 PM

    What is so ironic is that GOP lawmakers in the State of Wisconsin tried to destroy union rights. After the Packer fiasco, they are fully behind the union refs. Karma….

  11. taintedsaints2009 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:13 PM

    the fact that you are suggesting that the president should get involved in a private corporation’s own issues really concerns me. i’m actually quite shocked obama said he “can’t” get involved in it, which is the correct answer. this is something i’d assume he’d take advantage of to promote unions.

    this ref issue has nothing to do with him or his duties. and you’re a lawyer. you of all people should know this. the president is not the final decider of all controversial decisions in this country. good heavens, you need to wise up. or, soon you’ll be having him decide what he thinks is appropriate to post on your website.

  12. psr179 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:14 PM

    keep politics out of sports. end of story.

  13. stealersfannot says: Sep 25, 2012 2:15 PM

    Like it or not, this lockout is a political issue.

    Collective bargaining. The future of pension structures in corporate America. The ability of employees to dicate crucial elements of their own employment agreements, performance reviews, and duties to train future employees who can and will likely squeeze them out of their current positions.

    It’s not simply a salary dispute – and I would not be shocked if Romney came down in favor of the NFL in this dispute.

  14. ajw4277 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:15 PM

    Coolest president United States has ever had. Obama 2012. Oh yea, the replacement’s need to get back to my kids pee wee football games. We miss you here!

  15. livenbreathefootball says: Sep 25, 2012 2:18 PM

    President Obama doesn’t have time to meet with the Prime Minister of Israel about a nuclear Iran but he has time to comment on the Ref Lockout? Priorities people.

  16. hendawg21 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:19 PM

    The mere fact that the league office i.e. Adolph Goodell can sit and say the replacment refs have done a good job, and then review the controversial play from the GB-Seattle game and with a straight face say the right call was made is insanity at it’s best. I’d like to know what games the league office are watching because all that i’ve seen hasn’t given me that conclusion…the NFL is the owners who elected Goodell as commish, now if the owners can’t see that the fans are really getting fed up with this…I mean come on ruining your own chances and team by having these officials says alot more about what the owners feel about their product and fan base…basically we don’t matter as long as the bucks continue to flow in…

  17. daysend564 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:19 PM

    Just wait until the Cowboys destroy your Bears next Monday night….

  18. chrisdudley1986 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:20 PM


    Good to know he has his priorities in place and he was able to follow what’s going. Such a busy schedule he has these days, hangin’ with Beyonce and Joy Behar.

    Hey, Mr. President! Can’t wait to see what your March Madness bracket looks like

  19. onebucplace says: Sep 25, 2012 2:22 PM

    WOW, I wonder if Wisconsin is a swing state? YEP. Shut-up and do some work, I hear the Middle East is on fire, maybe look into it. I hear we have Americans being dragged out of buildings and killed — maybe that is something of more importance. But correct, this is just like the coal strike of 1902, they to were older men wearing striped shirts and clown pants that worked one day a week for 3 hours a day for 20 weeks a year and pulled down six figures and got first class airplane tickets. Just like it. D-bag.

  20. willtosqualor says: Sep 25, 2012 2:23 PM

    If the Packers had better pass protection they would have won the game, maybe they can look into signing the First Lady.

  21. kash71 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:24 PM

    Calm down, he is not going to get involved. He typed 15 words.

    Honestly even if you guys hate him, you would have loved it if he had the power to smack Godell upside the head for these terrible replacement refs.

  22. ubb44 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:24 PM

    Must have been backed up on the 8th tee for Barry to have time to tweet about the NFL.

  23. cardiovascularendurance says: Sep 25, 2012 2:25 PM

    “Priorities people” is what livenbreathefootball says. The irony…

    Clearly spending 4 seconds posting something on twitter is keeping him from meeting with world leaders. Lighten up people.

  24. headonaswivel says: Sep 25, 2012 2:25 PM

    Good thing he has his priories straight. :(

    Actually, come to think about it, it’s better he focus on the lockout, that way it will keep him from damaging our country more.

  25. pologroundsvet says: Sep 25, 2012 2:26 PM

    C’mon Barack. You know better. The NFL Powers that Be have us plain old fans in the same 47% Mitt wrote off. (Tagliabue as well). The 53% they do play to “watch” the games while talking on their cell ‘phones so they don’t care who the officials are. But they do pay the NFL’s bills and Roger’s salary.

  26. garyman1 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:29 PM

    I know this is an election year and people are rightly political….but I sure wish the President would focus on other issues.

  27. conormacleod says: Sep 25, 2012 2:30 PM

    The NFL owners are just holding out until after the election. If Romney wins, he has promised the owners that he will make the refs pay the rich owners for the right to work games! In turn, the rich owners will be richer, which will somehow benefit all of America!!

  28. 72goober11 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:32 PM

    The president should get involved. That way he can take competition right out of sports and just give everyone a trophy. Sounds pretty stupid….wake up America.

  29. conormacleod says: Sep 25, 2012 2:33 PM

    It’s always comical to read the hatred toward Roger Goodell, as if Goodell controls the entire NFL and not the owners. What, all the owners want the real refs back, but they are being held hostage by stubborn Rog? Really? Do people really believe the billionaire owners don’t own Goodell, rather than the other way around?

  30. besdayz says: Sep 25, 2012 2:33 PM

    Wisconsin is a swing state…..

    Smart politics….

  31. christopher525 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:34 PM

    IF he finds a way to force a resolution, as screwed up as it sounds, that would likely lock him the election.

  32. zn0rseman says: Sep 25, 2012 2:35 PM

    Keep the replacements.

    Did people just overnight forget about the thousands of blown, game changing calls under the old refs watch? The only difference here is that the unionized media is making a huge deal about every move made by the replacements. They want their union buddies to win their attempt to secure lifetime employment. Think about that. The old refs, as horrible as they were, want to be able to be immune from all forms of accountability. I don’t care how much money the NFL has, any business owner would be incredibly stupid to agree to such terms.

  33. CKL says: Sep 25, 2012 2:43 PM

    I’m not a fan of the current administration, but what exactly did the president say that was wrong? Nothing. He’s allowed to be a person with non political topic opinions and he’s allowed to be a sports fan.

  34. melikefootball says: Sep 25, 2012 2:45 PM

    You would think the president would TRY to get his own mess settled before getting involved in all thing entertainment of the masses. it is a game for goodness sake.

  35. ponderthis12 says: Sep 25, 2012 2:51 PM

    Why can’t the president watch football people? He is an american man that’s what we do. If you think that he is supposed to work 24/7 365. Bunch of idiots

  36. njsteelersfan says: Sep 25, 2012 2:51 PM

    conormacleod says:Sep 25, 2012 2:33 PM

    It’s always comical to read the hatred toward Roger Goodell, as if Goodell controls the entire NFL and not the owners. What, all the owners want the real refs back, but they are being held hostage by stubborn Rog? Really? Do people really believe the billionaire owners don’t own Goodell, rather than the other way around?
    You should learn something before talking . Its the onwers that have the say so with the refs The owners rules committee runs the refs not Goodell you know like the players lock out the owners have all the say if they come back or not

  37. refshavegottogo says: Sep 25, 2012 2:52 PM

    Some of you people are ridiculous. It took him maybe less than 2 minutes to write this. And you all are asking if he has anything better to do. Cause 2 minutes out of the day is really going to make a huge difference.

  38. reesesteel23 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:01 PM

    Oh give it a rest. Any Pres would have said the same thing…

  39. scrp2 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:03 PM

    I heard the Refs are demanding a free energy bar and a fresh starter cap before each game.

  40. gbsoccer6 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:07 PM

    The President made a tweet that took 10 secs and never once said I am getting involved and made a comment, which he can as a sports fan. Relax people.

  41. bolts0621 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:11 PM

    Good to see the President take a time out from fund raising to focus on things that are important in these trying times.

  42. jamiebuf12 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:12 PM

    I like the way ronald reagan handled the strike by the air traffic controllers……….. He fired them all :-) i know this is basically a lockout… But these refs are part time employees that want full time benefits and a pension… The nfl should offer more money,but def not pensions…. The refs also do not want checks and balances. People r pissed about the lack of quality of the refs,but the real refs sre not willing to give anything up and they are def not for the game just for themselves.. They have told the college refs if they ref nfl games they will be fired from their college gigs…..
    I say fire them all and let the nfl tell the new refs what they want and how it is going to be going forward…… Go bills !!

  43. thejuddstir says: Sep 25, 2012 3:27 PM

    To all the whining Packer fans: Go back in time to 2010 and recall the Vikings/Packers game at Lambeau where the officials ruled that Shiancoe did not catch a TD pass at end of game that would’ve resulted in the Vikings winning. Replays later showed that Shiancoe clearly caught the pass for a TD (Goodell didn’t overturn this game either). If any of you have a memory left after several years of having it marinated in beer, you will recall that another loss would’ve left the packers with a 9-7 record and out of the playoffs………which is the same year they just happened to win the SB ! I doubt any of you complained, demonstrated, whined about that robbery but yet you all can’t quit sniffling like babies of last night’s game. You would want us to believe that the Packers are the first team to ever lose a game due to an officiating blunder. Suck it up kiddies it happens to all of us.

  44. nittanybluehen says: Sep 25, 2012 3:27 PM

    These anti Obama posters crack me up. Especially considering their candidate just stated he thought passengers should be able to roll down airplane windows. Maybe worry about your own candidate coming up with ideas to solve the world’s problems too. It’s not like he’s out there tackling the big issues.

  45. viguy007 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:28 PM

    The President is a person too, not a robot. He likes sports and may have watched the game. He expressed an opinion that took all of 5 seconds to do. No problem

  46. alltimetroll says: Sep 25, 2012 3:34 PM

    bigbaldpapahawk says:
    Sep 25, 2012 2:11 PM
    It’s good to know that while 1000′s of people are losing their jobs everyday and I am paying $4 a gallon for gas, that our President is concerned with Football.


    There’s always a few of you morons that say something like this. You’d also be one of the “undecideds” they show on cable news, spouting on and on about how they want a president they can “sit down and have a beer with, and talk some football”.

    You’re absolutely right, a twitter comment or two showing the president cares about the sport you love means he has his priorities out of check. Idiotic. #lackofsanity

  47. Mr. Wright 212 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:47 PM

    Obama would.

    Since you want to bring in politics, these union-hating liberals (despite what you hear, they hate unions) are only using this to fuel their agenda.

  48. pem34 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:52 PM

    Wow – just wow – some of these comments. If you don’t know the difference between a public employee union and a private union please either don’t vote or educate yourself before Nov.

  49. keepounding1234 says: Sep 25, 2012 3:53 PM

    thehatefulnerd says:
    Sep 25, 2012 2:02 PM
    At least we know he would spend the money.

  50. Kaz says: Sep 25, 2012 3:55 PM

    All the hate for the President. Republicans wish Romney was down to earth enough to know the NFL Refs are on strike (without advisors telling him). Nothing wrong with Obama commenting/playing sports. It actually adds to his likeability. Something Romney should take note of.

  51. ocdn says: Sep 25, 2012 3:56 PM

    The President is expressing his view as a sports fan, not getting involved, as he stated. Everybody on this page is expressing their views but some of you feel he doesn’t have the right? The hypocrisies of the Obama haters shows just how “Patriotic” they truly are. OK for the “Chosen Few” to express their views, as long as agrees with their own political values. Good for you Mr. President. Keep exercising your constitutional rights, whether it be politics or sports.

  52. dvdman123 says: Sep 25, 2012 4:01 PM

    Oh please this is ridiculous now.

  53. pftb1ows says: Sep 25, 2012 4:33 PM

    huskylawyer says:Sep 25, 2012 2:12 PM

    What is so ironic is that GOP lawmakers in the State of Wisconsin tried to destroy union rights. After the Packer fiasco, they are fully behind the union refs. Karma….

    Actually if you wanna bring up irony…..the hard on you have for NFL football, and the smartphones/computers/tablets that you all are using to blog about it with are all thanks to capitalism.

  54. ihateravens says: Sep 25, 2012 5:04 PM

    Maybe the Dems want to create a goverment agency to tell private businesses what to pay their employees. I think this guy should lower the debt and get out of the way of private business.

  55. saintsfan1111 says: Sep 25, 2012 5:08 PM

    Fix the economy.

  56. alex35332 says: Sep 25, 2012 5:21 PM

    When Teddy Roosevelt was in the White house, he called a meeting with 4 of the most important men in the world of football. The issue, people wanted the game banned in the US due to the violence.

    TR gathered the men together, and basically strong armed them into mandating a little thing named the forward pass.

    Then I am going to assume he shot something or someone.

  57. ytownjoe says: Sep 25, 2012 5:32 PM

    Thank you Mr. President.

  58. bluebongzilla says: Sep 25, 2012 5:35 PM

    I’m happy for anything that takes away from this amateur’s available time to wreck anything and everything he touches.

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