Obama would not let his son play football
January 19th, 2014
03:20 PM ET
8 years 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.


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"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. Brenda

    No in their right minds would play football. It's not safe.

    January 19, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  2. Joe M.

    Please, no more "if I had a son..." hypotheticals from Obama.

    January 19, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  3. conoclast

    Let's face facts. Either football & boxing find ways to make the sports "safe" or they will disappear from the scene. Guts & glory are fine for the mega-buck participants playing the game - but what about the brain injuries? Do we just say it's part-of-the-game and put the injured out to pasture?

    From the evidence we've seen the brain-injured don't live particularly happy lives after retiring!

    January 19, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  4. Carver

    If Obama had sons they would be named dr. Quinn and medicine woman.

    January 19, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. simone

    He wouldn't let his son play football but he'd let him smoke pot. Great father barry is…..

    January 19, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  6. Marlin

    Well, respectfully, it isn't his choice. By the time his son would have gotten to that level he would be in his early twenties and able to make his own choices, father's choice be damned.

    January 19, 2014 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  7. Namethomas

    Since Ifs and buts aren't candy and nuts so is hope change. Nothing he says matters

    January 19, 2014 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  8. meki60

    so I guess that means he does not support the Super Bowl

    January 19, 2014 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  9. zaphed

    I would not let my dog play football.

    January 19, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  10. mickinmd

    If it was a question of being poor or playing pro football, I think playing it is worth it. If you have the skills to live a good life with good healthcare and funds to be financially comfortable in life, the fame, etc. isn't worth it.

    January 19, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  11. rsquared

    Apparently Obama has not done the Math... Unless his hypothetical son gives away his constitutional right as an adult and citizen to tell his father to go .... himself Obama would not have a say in his hypothetical son's decision to do whatever the.... he would hypothetically CHOOSE to do. Welcome to the NEW AMERICA

    January 19, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  12. cindy brooks

    Wouldn't LET? Seriously? I think he would get the same response my son gave me when I didn't want him to join the Marines when Iraq started. Hes a Gunny now. Good luck telling your adult children what they can do Mr. President.

    January 19, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  13. scott bleyle

    Tiger Woods is Barry's imaginary Son,Pot good,football bad.

    January 19, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  14. bmsvds

    Geez, people. The journalist's question was hypothetical. I encourage you haters to look up the big word.

    January 19, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  15. liberal disease

    instead he would rather him be a crooked politician like his dad, Brilliant

    January 19, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  16. Joe

    I got it............he would go for UFC instead. At any rate, his comment is stupid and not for a President. Stupid because a father cannot force sons his way. Sons must be left alone like a tree, as long as the father taught the basic rules of responsibility, honesty, and all that, which hopefully guide them to take the good road.

    January 19, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  17. Excuse me, but...

    Which son?

    January 19, 2014 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  18. reply

    But, would he let them us coke?

    January 19, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  19. Mike in SS

    Good thing he doesn't have boys then. What he would do is teach them how to be dependent on the government from cradle to grave.

    January 19, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  20. visitor

    I'm surprised by his statement considering how obsessed people get with sports and especially football. But it is about time we had some serious looks at the value of a sport where skulls crack into each other. I am in a very small minority of people who wonder why our school tax dollars pay for this sport.

    January 19, 2014 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  21. Sam Smith

    Excuse me? How old are pro football plyers? Unless his son wanted to play at age 17 (or younger), Obama could not force him not to play. Maybe he is starting to think like a dictator, hummmm...

    January 19, 2014 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  22. Andy Daniel

    You can dump on Obama all you want but I wouldn't let my kids even play high school football – not that my son showed interest in it, but that's not the point. Go back to the Knute Rockne days when players wore basically a little leather helmet. Today's protective gear is part of the PROBLEM, not the solution. Coaches teaching kids to hit helmet first? Are you kidding me?? Yes, the NFL today produces a more exciting product than years ago, and the athletes are stronger than they were a generation ago. But the cream-of-the-crop athletes set a dangerous example for kids, occasionally with tragic results.

    January 19, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  23. Sgt Gonzalez

    Who cares! Get a life and stop judging others!!!

    January 19, 2014 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  24. Ummm

    Would'nt let him become a lawyer either...
    Or a musician...
    Or a...

    Every job takes its toll.
    Why squash the dream?

    January 19, 2014 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  25. reply

    Football injuries: 394,350 in 2011. Basketball injuries in 2011: 389,610. This Obama needs to read the news every once in awhile. Isn't BB his sport?

    January 19, 2014 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
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