NEW ORLEANS — President Barack Obama recently said that if he had a son, he would struggle with the decision of whether or not he should play football. Obama also said fans need to question their conscience when it comes to celebrating the physical game.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had a response to the president during his annual State of the NFL address Friday at the Super Bowl. Goodell said he learned many lessons on the football field during childhood.
“I started playing the game when I was in fourth grade, tackle football in Washington, D.C., and I love the game,” Goodell said. “I started as a fan, but I wouldn’t give back one day playing tackle football.
“(There are) benefits of playing football: teaching you values, teaching you character, teaching you how to get up when you’re knocked down, how to develop teamwork. There are extraordinary lessons that I’ve used to this day. I talked about it last Friday. We’re going to make our game safer, not just in the NFL, but for all sports, and the changes we’re making in the NFL are changing all sports. There’s a better recognition of head injuries.”
Goodell said during his hour-long address that player health and safety “has always been a priority in the NFL.”
“We’ll continue to make it a priority, and you have our commitment, the players have our commitment that we will do that,” Goodell said. “What we are doing is leading the way and trying to make sure people understand to treat these injuries safely and that we can make our game safer, as we have done.
“The changes we’re making to our game make football better, make it safer, and it will make other sports safer. We’re proud of our accomplishments and we have more to do, but we will not relent on this.”
– Matt Florjancic, ClevelandBrowns.com Staff Writer