President Obama on Thursday dismissed any suggestion he would get involved in the labor dispute between NFL owners and players, which could result in a lockout as soon as midnight Friday.

“You’ve got owners, most of whom are worth close to a billion dollars. You’ve got players who are making millions of dollars,” he said in response to a question at a press conference.

“When [most] people are working to cut back, compromise and worry about making the mortgage and paying for their kids’ college education . ... the two parties should be able to work it out without the president of the United States.”

He added, “I’m a big football fan, but I also think that for an industry that’s making $9 billion a year in revenue, they can figure out how to divide it up in a sensible way. My expectation and hope is that they will resolve it without me intervening, because it turns out I’ve got a lot of other stuff to do.”

Negotiators for the league and the players’ union are meeting with a federal mediator in Washington this week, but a quick agreement seems unlikely.