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President Obama sounds off on football violence, safety

January 27, 2013|By Dan Loumena
  • President Obama strikes the Heisman pose after he awarded the Commander-in-Chief Trophy to Air Force last spring.
President Obama strikes the Heisman pose after he awarded the Commander-in-Chief… (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)

President Obama admits in a soon-to-be released article in the New Republic that it would be a tough decision to let a son play football.

The father of two daughters also said that football will probably become a less violent game in the future out of concern for player safety.

"I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football," Obama told the New Republic. “I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence.

“In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much.”

Obama expressed particular concern for college players, who don't get paid to play and don't have the same representation as professional players.

“I tend to be more worried about college players than NFL players in the sense that the NFL players have a union, they're grown men, they can make some of these decisions on their own, and most of them are well-compensated for the violence they do to their bodies,” he said, adding:

“You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That's something that I'd like to see the NCAA think about.”


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