Obama would not let his son play football
January 19th, 2014
03:20 PM ET
11 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. Martin in Seattle

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

    I would not let my son be a Politician ! he he he

    "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.

    January 19, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. G_Edwards

    Of course not. They use their potential and skills to become independent.

    It seems Pres Obama's desire is to have people become dependent on others and the government.

    .

    January 19, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. drkent3

    "How would he enforce that?" "His son would be a legal adult and he couldn't stop him". Wow, talk about people with their heads up their rear orifice. If a kid has never played football before, how could he ever be offered a pro football contract? I told my kids at a very early age that they could play any sport except football, due to the injuries (I've known a lot of triage nurses and football players). They are all very happy with their sports, and all are national competitors – football is not the only sport, people!

    January 19, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Cindy Anderson

    Have to agree. But what about high school and college players? Too many concussions and other injuries. Not worth it..

    January 19, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    USA needs education–not macho...macho...look at India and Chinese guys–learn from them.

    January 19, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Fiona

    Since Obama has no son, his words on the subject are meaningless. Does he watch and enjoy football? If so, and he feels this way about the game, he is a hypocrite.

    January 19, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. TAK

    Football is sport played by and watched by meatheads. A president finally comes along that's not afraid to say so.

    January 19, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Ron Martin

    would he let him serve in the military???

    January 19, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. Margaret Morgan

    My three sons played Pop Warner, high school varsity and college football. It never was discussed to prohibit them from playing. My dear President Obama I'm so happy you have two beautiful daughters!

    January 19, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. elbob248

    I wish his father wouldn't have let him run for President.

    January 19, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Will S

    Soccer is king.

    January 19, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    @JennySue, et al:

    He can sure stop his "son" from playing football until he is 18. Then it would be too late. You don't just jump into
    the pros and say "I want to play"......they would laugh him off the field. You raise your kids how you want to
    and let him do the same.
    This is so stupid, considering he has no sons.....and he was stating his opinion......just like all of us do
    on this blog. You just can't let any comment, no matter how small, go without some hateful comment.

    January 19, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. Jim_34

    What is with Obama and his imaginary son?

    January 19, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. posternovice88

    But he'd let him smoke pot because a lifetime of doing that won't lead to brain alteration....

    January 19, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. Glenn Doty

    Obama would have barred his son from playing football in middle and high school. That would be the age range at which a father could control the participation of the son...

    Granted, the theoretical son would have tremendous difficulty getting into a good college football program without having the experience from middle and high school... But it's not impossible. If an adult man wanted to do something, then the father couldn't realistically "bar" the man from doing what he wanted. So the tone of the hypothetical question was wrong at the start... Obama sort of walked into a trap by answering it as asked. Had Obama said "if I had had a son, I would be reluctant to let him participate in a middle school football program due to concerns about repeated head trauma, but I wouldn't be able to control his son's choices once he became a man eligible for pro football, so I'd have to choose to support his son and wish for the best"... Then he would have come off better on this topic.

    January 19, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. guy king

    Obama doesn't have a son. This is another of his fanciful assertions, founded in nothing but hot air.

    January 19, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Wes

    My imaginary son is an astronaut.

    January 19, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. Trilobiteme

    He won't let his son play football but will allow people to smoke weed (which cause brain damage over time)

    January 19, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. Kip (Portland)

    Yes and Obama also would not serve in the US military although he apparently wanted to be its Commander in Chief. Give us a break. Who cares what Obama thinks! He was raised by a grandmother and is in an all female household.

    January 19, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  20. JohnJ

    What an asinine comment. A parent can stop his kid from playing high school ball but after that his kid is now an adult and the parent doesn't have a say in it. There are plenty of kids who start playing a different sport in college.

    January 19, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Okabo Tonny

    Its normol with a father, to tnrow protection allover childrens, to avoid un-nessary hingeries.
    Great dad Obama.

    January 19, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. ptmom02

    I wouldn't let my son play either. Unless your kid is already a lunk head with no other hope for the future, it's a poor parenting choice.

    January 19, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Question

    Just exactly HOW does a parent stop AN adult child from doing anything? He should have an awesome time parenting teenagers with this sort of attitude.

    January 19, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. Brad

    I've seen your skinny frame, Mr. President, and I imagine any son of yours wouldn't be big enough for pro football. Just sayin.

    January 19, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. What?

    ""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?"

    But then he's supporting legalizing POT SMOKING.

    Liberals I tell ya, just pure HYPOCRISY.

    January 19, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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