WASHINGTON--If he had a son, President Barack Obama would not allow him to play football--the sport is too violent and need to change to protect the players, even if it makes the game "less exciting," he told The New Republic.
He said the NCAA needs to "think about" college players who suffer from concussions with the president less worried about NFL players because they are "grown men" who can make decisions about what they want to do.
Obama was asked about watching football, "knowing the impact that the game takes on its players."
Responded 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."