It was only a matter of time before congressional leaders waded into the $9 billion dispute between the National Football League owners and players.
In a column penned for The Washington Post, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., suggested that the only way to sort out the standoff before the March 4 lockout deadline is for the owners to show the players union the books.
"Don't keep secrets. If there are financial pressures that keep you from agreeing to the revenue-sharing plan proposed by the players, let's see the proof," Rockefeller wrote in the Post. Rockefeller stopped just sort of threatening to haul both parties before a congressional hearing, but he clearly got his point across.
"The House and Senate have periodically held hearings and meetings with professional sports officials and players to review issues of urgent public interest such as safety, illegal drug use and antitrust exemptions," Rockefeller said. "In this case, the prospect of a prolonged fight between owners and players has a direct bearing on the lives of millions of Americans who are caught in the middle."
To say that a lockout would be costly is an understatement. Sports fans would be incensed, and broadcasters would lose billions. And the congressional leader who can persuade the two parties to settle? Priceless.