During an extensive interview with The New Republic, President Obama made it clear that he is not 100% confident that NCAA football as well as the NFL have tackled the necessary safety issues facing each of them. The interview touched on a variety of topics and the football portion arose following a few questions on the culture of violence.
The following question was posed to President Obama during the interview which asked is ‘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 (said President Obama), 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.
The President touched on the topic briefly, but brought up a few good points which I am sure the NCAA and NFL offices are ywlloe-flagging a bit more closely now than prior to the interview.