So far, the ever-increasing awareness of the dangers of playing football hasn’t decreased the popularity of the NFL, but a number of fans and former players have said they wouldn’t let their children play football.
President Barack Obama may be a big Chicago Bears fan, but, in an interview with The New Republic, admitted that he’d struggle with the decision to allow his child to play the sport.
“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,” he said in the interview. “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.”
Greg Aiello, NFL spokesman, told the Associated Press: “We have no higher priority than player health and safety at all levels of the game.” Obama’s larger concern is for college football, where players have no real advocate.
“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. “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.”