President Barack Obama has had some outspoken views on sports. He loves the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. He’s a proponent of a college football playoff — one that’s bigger than four teams. And he has a few ideas on the state of pro football entering Super Bowl week
In an interview with The New Republic, the President said he is concerned about the culture in pro football. It would make him think twice if he had a son about allowing him to play football.
Franklin Foer: Sticking with the culture of violence, but on a much less dramatic scale: I’m wondering if you, as a fan, take less pleasure in watching football, knowing the impact that the game takes on its players.
Barack Obama: 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. And 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.
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. 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.
— Bill Bradley, contributing editor