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. Matthew

    Actually G_Edwards, most foot ball players end up broke within a few years of leaving the sport, even faster if they were 'retired' by an injury. Most of them spend their money as fast as they make it so a lot do end up needing assistance.

    January 20, 2014 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  2. prakash chand

    with a very high respect to the president..ur a failure...#1..#2 you don't believe in American pricipals..you are some outsider won presidency on foreign votes...as a president of usa you hate American football...you cant fight a war..because you are scared.... im on welfare and so are you and your family..beacause .the tax payer pays for your every meal and hour to hour living....do something for America and stop lying everydat on tv.

    January 20, 2014 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  3. LOLbama

    As if his son would listen to him.

    January 20, 2014 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  4. Andy Daniel

    Before you dump on (or support) the President's comments, take 30 seconds to read them. Here it is in an interview with Franklin Foer of the New Republic – and by the way this interview is from January of 2013 – a year ago.

    "I'm wondering if you, as a fan, take less pleasure in watching football, knowing the impact that the game takes on its players.?"

    "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."

    January 20, 2014 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  5. Cord

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

    Except that he loves watching football. He's a huge fan. Which simply makes him a hypocrite. And apparently, according to you, a meathead as well.

    January 20, 2014 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  6. John

    Mr. President. Your son would be an adult so whether or not you like it, you would have NO LEGAL AUTHORITY to stop your son from playing pro football. I know you think you are a king and we are all your subjects to be bossed around and told what to do, but you don't have that authority. We have rights. Even if those rights are to choose to do things with which you disagree.

    January 20, 2014 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  7. Mark

    Well, since his son would be of age to make decisions for himself, he wouldn't have a say really. The only way he might be able to stop it was if his son didn't play in high school as to not learn the way the game is played.

    January 20, 2014 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  8. Wes

    My imaginary son just won the lottery!

    January 20, 2014 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Obama should be a father and let his son do what any conventional citizen would aspire to do. Things do happen behind closed doors.

    January 20, 2014 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  10. DaTruff

    Instead of asking the President softball questions about situations that will never happen – how about asking him how he's going to turn our country around and dig us out of the $17 trillion hole he has put us in?

    January 20, 2014 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  11. Don King

    President Obama just made himself look like an idiot, or worse. He is supposedly an attorney who graduated from Harvard in the top of his class. He, above any, should know that once your kid(s) reach age of majority, they can, and do, do whatever they want.

    He couldn't do anything, or prohibit anything, regarding his adult offspring. If his "boy" (if he had one) wanted to play pro football, was capable, and had a contract with the NFL, there's nothing, even as POTUS he could do about it. On top of that, if his boy wanted to play high school football, he could initially stop it. But all his boy would have to do is meet the legal requirements to be independent, and could emancipate himself, technically at any age.

    Is this a showing of incompetence? Arrogance? Publicity stunt? Or just flat out lies?

    January 20, 2014 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  12. meme

    So, no football but smoking pot is ok? Wow!

    January 20, 2014 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  13. SammFan

    again with the imaginary son (?)

    January 20, 2014 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  14. Bksfilm

    Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but this quote is really strange thing to say. If he did have a son and if that son were talented enough to play pro football how could Obama stop him from playing. His son would have to be an adult to play pro football. If Obama wanted to stop his son from playing football I high school he could certainly do that, but he'd have a hard time stopping him playing in college. I just find it strange to say he'd stop his imaginary son from playing "pro" football rather than high school or college .

    January 20, 2014 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  15. Enough is Enough

    I doubt that this wimp of a president would ever have a son with the physical abilities and mental toughness to play football. Ballet dancing yes, football no. Maybe he should pay more attention to his two daughters than to his mythical son. This is not first time he has spoken about this mythical son. I'm sure Michelle and his two daughters must be feeling a tad put down by now.

    January 20, 2014 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  16. Chris Asking Question

    So is this another thing that President Obama wants to ban?

    January 20, 2014 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  17. Bob Snot

    Yeah? I wouldn't let my children or grand children run for elected office.

    "With an ever-growing amount of evidence linking" politics with graft, who could blame me?

    January 20, 2014 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  18. sam stone

    i don't think there is much of a chance of that. generally, first of all, the chances of a child growing up to play pro football is very, very low. secondly, children of wealthy parents generally have better options than football

    January 20, 2014 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  19. dudley0416

    With that form his son wouldn't reach the pros...

    Not sure a man proud of a son who had earned such success would or even could tell his son what to do, one way or the other. I think Michelle said it. Sounds like something a mother would say, not a father.

    She wears the pants, anyway. Why do you think he's so ineffective?

    January 20, 2014 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  20. Scott

    Like we care? Since he doesn't even have a son. Again the Dictator has to weigh in on everything. Soon there will an executive order involving it somehow.

    January 20, 2014 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  21. jerome

    Would you let him follow Bill Ayers or attend Rev. Wright's church?

    January 20, 2014 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  22. james

    Football is too dangerous at all levels and should be banned. Obama should decree that football not be played anywhere in the US.

    January 20, 2014 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  23. Flatsguide

    obama or his son wouldn't be able to pass the drug screening that the NFL requires all players to pass. Barry smokes too much dope, I've seen the pictures.

    January 20, 2014 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  24. Chris

    Let's be thankful, this guy does not have a son.

    January 20, 2014 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  25. forrest

    I forgot to mention, he also would not let his son join any of the military branches. It's o.k. if other parent's son join the military and get killed, loose a leg or legs, loose a arm or arms. have facial damage from bomb blast , injuries that would prevent the person from ever walking again , develop PTS. don't forget folks, he let 4 people get killed one of which was an ambassador and all he did was cover it up. This guy makes me sick to my stomach, I flush better things down the toilet

    January 20, 2014 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
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