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. Forbetter Orworse

    This is proof-positive that big-money does not have our President in their pockets!

    I'm so glad about this. I'm using this article to show my son because he's a high school athlete who likes to play football during the off-season. Both his football and basketball coaches are saying he's good enough for a scholarship... but this year his football injuries forced him to sit-out for his first three weeks of basketball! Also, the demands of football caused his B+ average in the college prep 'GATE' (Gifted and Talented) program to drop to a C-!

    January 19, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  2. nunya

    Really? I dont think there is much that he could do to stop his son, if he had one, from playing football.. smh..............

    January 19, 2014 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  3. Forbetter Orworse

    It's silly to see people complain over the simple 'delivery' of Obama's assertion. Let it be! Like I said before, I have a son in high school who is also into sports and Obama is spot-on!

    January 19, 2014 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  4. Any normal American

    This man is not my president.

    January 19, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  5. Mike C

    First of all. It is not his choice. As much as Obama wants to be dictator the reality is that he can't dictate his son's choices.
    Second, apparently, given Obama's recent statements, he would let his son smoke pot like he did and and smoke cigarettes like he still does.

    January 19, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  6. Eric

    He doesn't have a son, and who cares what he thinks!

    January 19, 2014 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  7. Rich

    Nice to see the haters on Obama for making a common sense statement. A statement that many pro football players have made. Harry Carson, Hall of Fame linebacker, wants his grandson to use his brain and not his brawn. But the idiot right-wingers need to assert their Neanderthalism.

    Tom McHale died at 45 and had CTE. His kids quit playing football.

    Can we quit the grandstanding on machismo?

    January 19, 2014 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  8. Michael

    I like how he says he would ban his sons if he had them from playing pro football. Let's see, if his sons were adults being I don't of too many teenagers playing pro football, I don't see where he would have a say in it. Time for a change...in 2016.

    January 19, 2014 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  9. Attack Cat

    I'm pretty sure at the Age of Majority, which is 17 in my home state, a young adult can leave his/her home and make his/her own decisions.

    January 19, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  10. smirking

    What we have here are two things that really annoy me about online commenting.

    1) People who only read the headline and mouth off without reading any more.

    2) Headline writers who know exactly how to word a worthless "story" to draw in meatheads with two mouths and no ears to turn it into lots of traffic.

    January 19, 2014 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  11. Bill Marvel

    Help save football.. Donate your child's brain.

    January 19, 2014 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  12. schaz

    If Obama had a son, and that son was 21 or older, how would he propose to stop him from playing in the NFL. Assuming that the son was talented enough to do so and really wanted to?

    January 19, 2014 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  13. tech

    But I guess he'd be ok with his son smoking pot or marrying another man.

    January 19, 2014 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  14. sgt hulka

    if Obama had a son he would be a girl

    January 19, 2014 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  15. common sense

    So would he not let him snow board, ski, ride his bike?? All of these activities lead to concussions as well.

    January 19, 2014 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  16. CGDoc

    "Obama would not let his son play football." But would probably tell his son it's OK to smoke dope. What a role model!

    January 19, 2014 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  17. Salvia58

    The same feeling he has about smokers ? Like they are knowingly taking on too much risk ? Funny coming from a man who was chewing nicotine during the interview. I hope he doesn't have a heart attack. As "his son" would be an adult to play pro, I wonder how he intends to stop him.- executive order ? Perhaps he is just upset the players may be awarded compensation and the NFL would then write it off their taxes. Money to players no cut for the government.

    January 19, 2014 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  18. isthatafact

    The imaginary son again? If Obama had a son, well, he doesn't so his statement means nothing and frankly I don't understand why he is sounding off on this subject. Presidents usually avoid hypothetical questions. Also, the subject has nothing to do with him or his position, as the U.S. President. Now, if he was the NFL Commissioner, then his opinion would mean something. Instead, it seems all he wants to do is inject himself into controversial public issues and stir the pot. He should stick to getting the health care and budget issues straightened out. Can we accelerate Election Day?

    January 19, 2014 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  19. j c

    Oblamer wouldn't let his son play professional football? Wouldn't his son be a legal adult at that juncture in his life to decide for himself? Talk about a control freak.

    January 20, 2014 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  20. Harry Balzak

    Seeing that his son would have his genes and zero throws like a girl, I doubt his son would make it much beyond Pop Warner.

    January 20, 2014 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  21. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    @G_Edwards: "Of course not. They use their potential and skills to become independent."

    Oh, for Pete's sake! Ask any orthopedic surgeon or neurologist about pro football and they'll tell you the same thing as the President .

    BTW, did you see what happened to 49er NaVorro Bowman's left iknee today in the game against the Seahawks! It's been reported he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, which could require reconstructive surgery this offseason. Football is a dangerous sport!

    January 20, 2014 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  22. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    @posternovice88: "But he'd let him smoke pot because a lifetime of doing that won't lead to brain alteration...."

    What is it about President Obama saying “It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.” that you don't get?

    January 20, 2014 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  23. TTommy

    I seriously doubt the Messiah could have passed on any genes that would help his son play football. He's the most effeminate president in history. He only embarresses himself when he tries to look masculine. Check him out throwing a baseball, or missing 23 three pointers in a row. Give us a break.

    January 20, 2014 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  24. Fred G. Sanford

    Football is fun to watch. But playing on the professional level requires one to absolutely destroy their body. Who wants to feel like an old man at 35?

    January 20, 2014 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  25. Mr. Izz

    So Obama wouldn't let his make believe son play football.... I'm guessing he would let his make believe son do drugs and marijuana though.

    January 20, 2014 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
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