Obama would not let his son play football
January 19th, 2014
03:20 PM ET
6 months ago

Obama would not let his son play football

Washington (CNN) - As the Patriots, Broncos, Seahawks and 49ers prepare to battle for two spots in the Super Bowl, President Barack Obama says if he had a son, he wouldn’t let him play pro football.

With an ever-growing amount of evidence linking the brutal sport with serious head and brain trauma, the President, who has two daughters, told New Yorker editor David Remnick he would bar his son from playing the sport.


"I would not let my son play pro football," Obama reportedly said.

In the wide-ranging interview, covering a range of subjects about his presidency - from the controversy over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of metadata from American citizens, to the potential legalization of marijuana - Obama said the athletes who play pro football know the risk of injury is part of the bargain. But it's a risk he would not take with his son's future.

"There's a little bit of caveat emptor," Obama told Remnick. "These guys, they know what they're doing. They know what they're buying into. It is no longer a secret. It's sort of the feeling I have about smokers, you know?" he added.

Obama is an avid sports fan and self-professed "SportsCenter" addict who roots for the Chicago Bears. But he said football has entered the same "realm" as boxing, another sport plagued by seeing its stars suffer through the afterlife of their careers beset by crippling injuries related to the punishment they took in the ring.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    I don't think Hannity, Beck, and Limbaugh played football. Although they seem to have taken too many blows to their heads.

    January 19, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. waitnonasunnyday

    "...he would bar his son...". Pro football players are adults, and get to make their own decisions. Is Barrack a Dictator to his family too?

    January 19, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. Steve

    By the time a child is old enough to play pro football, daddy will have no hand in the decision. if you let you son play peewee football, middle school football, etc you will have a football player. Don't let them play when they are young.

    January 19, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. lord Kubota

    He's got that right....and he goes on to imply that people who are hurt doing knowingly dangerous activities have nothing to complain about. Kinda sided with the NFL on injuries ... Obama the hidden conservative...

    January 19, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Gary

    One, The President does not have a son. Two, he said the same thing last year and before that too. So what... He's a basketball guy... Why does it matter? Is it just to promote a negative because that's what makes readers read?

    January 19, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Name

    He son would be old enough to make his own choice to play in the NFL

    January 19, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. Donnie the Lion

    I don't blame him: if he had a son, he wouldn't be playing for the money. So then you look at it as what does the average player get out of his 4 year career, versus the risk of permanent injury. When you take the money out of the equation, you really have to question the wisdom. And I love pro football.

    January 19, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. yolanda

    And most people wouldn't let their sons enter politics, as there is growing evidence that it causes loss of good sense and brings about the inability to play well with others. Clinical studies show that this malady affects one's sense of balance and results in excessive leaning to either the right or the left. A reliable antidote is available, but only in Canada, and Big Pharma will not market it into the US, which suits the ABA as they foresee a rich vein of malpractice lawsuits resulting from doctors prescribing the drug to anyone who might be rendered sensible and willing to compromise for the good of the country.

    January 19, 2014 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. kalimatics

    Obama is right. I personally think these kind of extreme sports should be banned. The risk involved is too much.

    January 19, 2014 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Namejan

    Really? Could you be more petty?

    January 19, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Leave the posing to Putin. BO throws like a girl.

    January 19, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  12. Scott

    So, when his son turned 18, Mr President would continue to control his life like he wants to control America. Gee. What a great man.

    January 19, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. snowman

    Dear Mr President...If your son was old enough to play pro football, he wouldn't need your permission, so your view is invalid.

    January 19, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. Kevin

    Obama seems to answer every question except ones that relate to his job. He really is proving to be nothing more than a celebrity fundraiser. It is amazing how he thinks he could tell "his son" not to play pro football. Since when do adults need their parents permission to do anything. This guy is a control freak.

    January 19, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  15. Kman

    If only this guy would stick his nose where a president is supposed to.

    January 19, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  16. Ted OConnor

    Yeah, right. We know who makes the decisions in that family.

    January 19, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. Paul Wilson

    In a Monty Python sketch,.originally considered for "Quest of the Holy Grail", a young man is asked to donate his head for a decapitated boxer. He objects, saying "that's the bit that gets hit !" (No, I'm not on some drugs ! That was the sketch !!"

    January 19, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  18. sassynik

    So does he like ANYTHING about America culture?

    January 19, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    If he's as skinny as you mr pres. I wouldn't let him either !

    January 19, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. jp

    When the winners of the Super Bowl arrive at the WH, I hope he repeats this statement.

    January 19, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. Mike in SS

    Good think he and Michelle only made daughters then.

    January 19, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. budgiegirl2

    I agree with just about everything Obama says philosophically. I just wish he had built a better team that could manage the government better. His administration has more or less sucked.

    January 19, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  23. Jaggersden

    Makes one wonder what our so called leader did sportswise while getting an education. Maybe checkers? I thought about darts but then that is very dangerous not to mention you would be seen in all sorts of pubs. How about a bubble gum chewing contest? I do believe that they are held in all 57 states.

    January 19, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  24. Geoff Barrenger

    I wonder if the President would allow his son to join a branch of Armed Forces?

    January 19, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. frustratedcitizen

    I'm looking at this piece and thinking three things:

    1) Why is this news? Of all the issues addressed in the interview, they write about this?

    2) The president doesn't have a son, so it's a moot point anyway.

    3) Even if the president did have a son, it wouldn't be his place to "let" or "not let" this hypothetical son play a sport. He could express disapproval but the son's career path would ultimately be the son's choice. Would he attempt to choose his daughters' careers for them. Keep in mind that I would say this no matter who the president or any other public official would be.

    January 19, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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