The audacity of NY Jets owner Woody Johnson

May 23, 2011, 7:55 PM UTC

Don’t complain about job creation when you’re actively destroying them.

Woody Johnson has billions of dollars. Too bad that can’t buy him some self-awareness.

The New York Jets owner was on CNBC last Thursday, to discuss issues ranging from the NFL lockout to presidential politics. On the issue of jobs, Johnson said (in part):

“Jobs that are being created now are government jobs… I don’t think [Obama] is doing anything to create private sector jobs.”

Now I get that Johnson is a major Republican Party donor who has a vested interest in seeing Obama defeated in 2012. But he needs to come up with some better material.

First, he’s simply wrong on the facts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that nonfarm private sector employment has increased in each of the past 14 months, while the public sector has been hemorrhaging jobs since its 2008 peak.

But there is a larger issue here: Woody Johnson is one of 32 NFL owners who is locking out NFL players, threatening the 2011-2012 season. Johnson says he is confident that both sides will work things out, but also isn’t making any guarantees.

If Johnson really cared deeply about private sector employment, maybe he should work harder to end the impasse. Or at least acknowledge his own complicity in private job losses.

Not only does the lockout affect players – including recently-drafted kids who have yet to see a dime – but it also affects team personnel. For example, Johnson’s franchise recently began one-week-per-month furloughs of nearly 100 non-contract employees.

This follows the termination of around 30 sales positions, and doesn’t even begin to account for the hundreds (thousands?) of others whose livelihoods are at least partially reliant on NFL football (stadium vendors, parking lot attendants, security, merchandise manufacturers, area restaurants and hotels, etc.).

Johnson argues that the White House is to blame for a paucity of private sector jobs. But in East Rutherford, N.J., Johnson is the one withholding checks.

[Disclaimer: Yes, I’m a New England Patriots fan. But I’d be writing the exact same thing about Bob Kraft, were he to have spouted off in a similar manner]