Governor Pritzker apologizes for comments on MLB players negotiating salaries

Tim Stebbins
NBC Sports Chicago

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker apologized for comments made this week regarding MLB players negotiating salaries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I want to apologize for leaving the impression that baseball players shouldn't have the right to bargain to protect their health and safety," Pritzker said Wednesday during his daily coronavirus press briefing. "I absolutely support that right, and I should have made that more clear."

Tuesday, Pritzker weighed in on the showdown brewing between MLB and the players union regarding salaries as they negotiate a shortened 2020 season. The governor said he's "disappointed in many ways that players are holding out for these very, very high salaries and payments during a time when I think everybody is sacrificing." 

RELATED: MLB and players 2020 season showdown comes from mistrust built in recent years

That comment drew the ire of many, and while it wasn't the entirety of his statement, it wasn't an inaccurate representation, either.

"I realize that the players have the right to haggle over their salaries," Pritzker said Tuesday. "But we do live in a moment where the people of Illinois, the people of the United States deserve to get their pastime back to watch, anyway, on television.

"If they're able to come up with safety precautions, as has been suggested by Major League Baseball, that works, I hope that the players will understand that the people of our United States need them to recognize that this is an important part of the leisure time that all of us want to have during the summer, to watch them play baseball, to root for our favorite teams. We need that back, that normalcy back, and I hope they'll be reasonable as they negotiate."

In March, the MLB players union agreed to take prorated salaries for 2020 based on the number of games played. However, in MLB's proposal to restart an abbreviated season, owners are reportedly looking for a revenue split, citing financial losses from a condensed schedule and no fan attendance.

A split would cap player salaries at 50 percent of total revenues. When asked in a radio interview Tuesday if players expect to compromise with owners on salaries, Cubs outfielder Ian Happ said they've already agreed to a pay cut.

"We're taking pay as the number of games that we play this year," Happ said. "Players understand that we want to get back on the field, and I think that for our country and for all the fans out there, that's our main goal - is to get back.

"But we've already come to one agreement. We're excited to see what the proposal is and see what our best solution is moving forward for baseball this year."

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Governor Pritzker apologizes for comments on MLB players negotiating salaries originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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