President Barak Obama, in a pregame interview with Scott Pelley of CBS News, repeated his concerns about whether he’d allow a child to play football while also admitting that, like most football fans, he loves to see the big hit.
“As I said before, I’d have to think about it [letting a child play]. You know, it’s hard to say no to a kid when they’ve got a passion for something. I’ve got daughters — they don’t have a passion for football. It is a great sport. I am a huge fan, but there is no doubt that some of the concerns that we’ve learned about when it comes to concussions have to give parents pause.
“As I said before, I feel differently about the NFL. These are grown men. They’re well-compensated. They know the risks that are involved. But as we start thinking about the pipeline — Pop Warner, high school, college — I want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to make the sport safer and that means that the game is probably going to evolve a little bit.
“For those of us who like to see a big hit and enjoy the rock ‘em, sock ‘em elements of the game, we’re probably going to be occasionally frustrated. I know defensive players in the NFL get frustrated now because of some of the changes in the rules, but I do think that we want to make sure that, after people have played the game, they’re going to be okay. I’m glad to see that the NFL is starting to take this seriously. I understand that Commissioner [Roger] Goodell has authorized $30 million to the NIH to help study issues of how we can prevent concussions.
“But these are serious issues, especially for younger kids as well as college players who don’t make a big salary playing the sport we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe.”
Obama traditionally sits down for a gameday interview just before the Super Bowl.