- (Photo: Reuters/Mark Leffingwell)
President Barack Obama said in a recent interview that although he trusts that professional NFL players "know what they're doing," he would not let his son, if he had one, play professional football. The president's comments come as the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks make their way to the 2014 Super Bowl.
"I would not let my son play pro football," the president told The New Yorker magazine in an interview conducted aboard Air Force One and published Sunday. The president's comments came after journalist David Remnick asked the POTUS if he felt torn being an NFL fan due to the medical studies that link playing football to concussions and early-onset dementia.
The president went on to compare NFL players to people who smoke, saying by now each group of people should be aware of the risks associated with their behavior. "At this point, there's a little bit of caveat emptor," the president said. "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?"
The president does not currently have a son, but rather two daughters. Although the president's comments are hypothetical, they do reflect his previous sentiment on NFL football and the physical risks associated with the aggressive game. Obama expressed similar beliefs in a comment he made leading up to last year's Super Bowl, when he told the New Republic that he's "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."
Obama's recent comments were published this past Sunday, the same day the Denver Broncos beat out the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers for spots in the upcoming Super Bowl XLVII. In contrast to Obama's opinion regarding football, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said last year that he will allow his son to play football when he gets older.
"I have a 4-month-old, almost 5-month-old son, Jack Harbaugh, and if President Obama feels that way, then there will be a little bit less competition for Jack Harbaugh when he gets old," Harbaugh said last year before the Super Bowl. "Jack is only 5 months old. He is a really big kid. He has an enormous head. We don't have a 40 time on him yet, but his wingspan is plus one, and as soon as he grows into that head he is going to be something. It's early, but expectations are high for young Jack."
The president will be likely asked to talk about his opinion on the NFL again, as it is customary for the POTUS to speak on the day of the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. This year's Super Bowl will take place at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.