Illinois governor apologizes after criticizing MLB players 'holding out' for more money

Mark Townsend
Yahoo Sports Contributor

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker issued an apology Wednesday, one day after criticizing Major League Baseball’s players for “holding out” for more money amid negotiations to potentially start up the baseball season in July.

"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 courtesy of 670 The Score in Chicago. "I absolutely support that right, and I should have made that more clear."

Pritzker himself received immediate criticism for seemingly putting the money issue ahead of the health and safety issues that are leading the negotiations. At one point, Pritzker stated the “people of the United States deserve to get their pastime back,” before adding he was “disappointed in many ways that players are holding out for these very, very high salaries” at a time when “everybody is sacrificing.”

Here are Pritzker’s full comments from Tuesday’s press conference, courtesy of Block Club Chicago’s Kelly Bauer:

The players had already agreed to accept a prorated salary in March. The push back now stems from owners attempting to force a pay cut for what amounts to half a season.

On Monday, team owners approved MLB’s plan for an 82-game schedule that would begin in early July. In doing so, they asked the players to accept a 50-50 split of revenues. Players union executive director Tony Clark quickly responded, calling the offer a "non-starter" while adding that MLB was “trying to take advantage of a global health crisis to institute a salary cap."

The money issue will undoubtedly be contentious. Then again, when isn’t the money issue contentious during negotiations?

With that in mind, it seemed premature on Tuesday and still seems premature more than 24 hours later to make the money a focus of any criticism directed at either side. Not while bigger issues, such as the players health and safety, remain front and center. There will be plenty of time for money talk once that bridge is reached.

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker apologizes after expressing disappointment that MLB players were 'holding out' for money. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

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