LaVar Arrington sees keeping kids from football as “sissification”

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LaVar Arrington will not join in with those who say football isn’t a sport fit for children.

Arrington, who played linebacker in the NFL for seven seasons and made three Pro Bowls, said during today’s Outside the Lines discussion of the hazards of youth football that the risks associated with playing football aren’t as bad as the risks associated with teaching your kids that they should be afraid of engaging in physically strenuous activities.

“To me, it’s sissification, and I think that’s the only way to put it,” Arrington said. “I will not go through my life scared and I don’t want my children to go through life scared. I started playing football when I was 8 years old and I would never not want to give that opportunity to my children.”

Arrington says he wants his son, LaVar II, to play football, and he believes that when young children are properly supervised and playing the game correctly, they’re generally not big and strong enough to seriously injure each other in collisions.

Obviously, there are some risks associated with children playing football. There are also risks associated with children playing any other sport, not to mention riding bicycles, riding in cars or walking across the street. No parent can eliminate all risks of injuries from their children’s lives, and a parent who tried would probably wind up raising a child so risk-averse that he’d be unable to accomplish much of anything in life. There’s something to be said for teaching children not to go through life scared.

76 responses to “LaVar Arrington sees keeping kids from football as “sissification”

  1. “generally not big and strong enough to seriously injure each other in collisions”

    This would mean that not a single High School football player has ever been injured because they aren’t “strong enough”.

    It’s not about strength. My buddies dad was in a car accident, going 5mph, and now has permanent brain damage. You can’t tell me that just because you aren’t strong doesn’t mean you can’t hurt someone – or yourself.

  2. Can we stop getting updates on what everyone and their mom thinks about kids playing football? Actually, I think the concussion thing has been played enough too. How about sticking to regular football news?

    BREAKING NEWS: Football is Dangerous!!! OMG

  3. Who said kids shouldn’t play football? If your answer is Kurt Warner, you’re an idiot, because that isn’t what he said.

  4. I agree 100%. What the hell is America trying to do to the men of this country. Make them all a bunch of video game playing sissys. Get out there and play. Everyone gets hurt in thier lives at one time or another.

  5. Oh for HEAVEN’S sake. I know you’re a football player, but for heaven’s sake don’t play to the Cro-Magnon stereotype.

    How utterly ignorant.

  6. Youth/highschool football builds character. Plus we are nothing but hairless apes, we need the field to take out all those raging horomones and aggression in a positive manner.

  7. I agree somewhat with him, although I think the title of this article takes his words out of context. He was just saying that kids should not be afraid to play football because of the known risks that may occur. He wasn’t calling kids wimps for not wanting to play football.

  8. A football playing friend of mine was told in middle school that he could no longer play ANY contact sport because of having had multiple concussions. Kids are not as strong, yes, but it’s all relative. If a large man hits a smaller man, he’s going to go down hard. At the same time if a large kid hits a smaller kid, he’s going to go down hard.

    In some cases lack of strength could actually make kids more at risk. Lack of neck strength will make them less able to prevent their heads from slamming into the ground after a hit. Gravity works at the same speed for everyone. A youngster’s head can hit the ground just as hard as an adult’s.

  9. I agree with Lavarr 100%!!! You can’t put your kids in a bubble their entire childhood then expect them to succeed as they grow older. I’m tired of the everyone gets a trophy mentality!!

  10. Arrington, who played linebacker in the NFL for seven seasons and made three Pro Bowls, said during today’s Outside the Lines discussion of the hazards of youth football that the risks associated with playing football aren’t as bad as the risks associated with teaching your kids that they should be afraid of engaging in physically strenuous activities.

    Setting aside the discussion of football’s future, Arrington (or least this summary of his comments) presents a false dilemma. The choice is not “football vs. laziness”, but “football vs. any other sport”. The issue is the long-term physical and mental effects of playing football that no other sport (not even hockey) has hanging over its metaphorical head.

  11. Don’t know how this could have come out. It means at least one person listens to that god awful radio show.

  12. Note to LaVarr:
    My sons did not play football, yet they deployed to Iraq. They are not sissies. A-hole

  13. dmackerman wrote:

    “generally not big and strong enough to seriously injure each other in collisions”

    This would mean that not a single High School football player has ever been injured because they aren’t “strong enough”.
    ======
    I honestly don’t know if you are failing to grasp what he said, just refuting his opinion, or trying to be cool by twisting his words around.

    Generally and “never” are not interchangeable.

    Generally means “usually, the norm, typical”. It does not mean always. As in USUALLY kids aren’t big and strong enough….

    He did not say “No HS football player has ever been injured…” nor did he likely mean it to be interpreted in that way.

    As a Dallas fan, I can’t believe I even bothered to respond to this.

  14. I’m surprised Kurt Warner’s comments created such an uproar amongst the football community. He stated that in regards to HIS own children, he would rather not have them playing such a violent sport in which they may be harmed. Warner has no business speaking for everyone’s children so he didn’t…he simply shared his prerogative and he came off as logical and reasonable to me.

    Nobody is saying that ALL kids shouldn’t play football…that’s just idiotic, but every parent is free to make their own decisions regarding their own kids. SIMPLE…AS…THAT.

  15. This is getting so silly now.

    So football coaches at all levels will have to train kids to put their shoulders into a guy’s thighs, waste or legs, they will have to wrap up. For the ‘kill shot’ crowd, there can still be a violent collision when your dishing out shoulder shots.

    Guys may still accidently smash their helmets head on, they may take a knee in the head, etc but the onus should be on players to tackle properly.

    Let’s face it all these guys understand there is a certain degree of danger involved in Football. Players will just have to adapt to a style of tackling that doesn’t melt your brain.

  16. whoisedgy says:
    May 8, 2012 5:15 PM
    Note to LaVarr:
    My sons did not play football, yet they deployed to Iraq. They are not sissies. A-hole

    ************************

    That is your opinion.

  17. While you’re at it, give your son a pack of smokes. Real men don’t care about lung cancer.

  18. Yeah. Kurt Warner isn’t a tough principled guy like those Arrington has been around!

    Joe Paterno, an amoral egoitst.

    Jerry Sandusky, a child rapist.

    Yep, those are the kinds of role models Lavar admires.

  19. The fact is, people die everyday in this world from accidents, murders, drugs, etc. You can try to raise your child in a bubble all you want to, but at some point you have to realize that the more you try to run from danger, the more it will find you.

    The best thing we can do now, is educate ourselves and our kids on the dangers associated with football, and the safest ways to play the sport. Living your life from a position of fear doesn’t guarantee a longer life span or protection from injury. But it could guarantee that you miss out on experiencing what life is all about in the first place.

  20. Not “generally” or “usually” a good idea to tell another parent how to raise their kids.

  21. I agree with lavarr nd personally feel youth who dont play football are missing out on many life lessons in discipline team work. Football is the ultimate team sport. I was a liitle bastard when i was young and football totally changed me in every aspect of my life. If not for football some of these kids will be out commiting crimes and dropping out of school. I did very well in school but mostly bc i wanted to play football nd if i didnt play might not of showed up. For kids whose dad aint around COACH is the closest thing. Baseball and basketball is great but the emotional game of football makes a team so much closer. I really hope parents dont take that experience away from them. Sry bout the rant but football in my eyes doesnt just change people it makes them.

  22. So, now are some of you fools going to castigate your concrete-laying buddy for encouraging his kids to get a degree instead of breaking their backs for 30 years?

    Are you going to call my firefighter brother-in-law a sissy because he wanted his kids to avoid that line of work because he’s suffered several damaging injuries?

    Get a clue. Concussions are very serious, and the sports-culture of ‘tough through it’ is a blessing and a curse. Courage and stupidity are not the same thing. I played football in high school and it made me mentally tougher than I ever thought I could be. I also teach college students who will ALWAYS be less than healthy because of football. It’s a very fine line, and I will never criticize anyone who thinks about not letting their kids play a sport we all admit can be dangerous.

  23. There’s a huge difference between a kid risking a broken bone or a tore up knee, and putting your kid at a deliberate and consistent risk for brain injury.

  24. whoisedgy says:
    May 8, 2012 5:15 PM
    Note to LaVarr:
    My sons did not play football, yet they deployed to Iraq. They are not sissies. A-hole

    ________________________

    Ha! You told him. Why die when you’re 40 – 50, when you could possibly die before the sunsets? Even better if you’re crazy enough you could die too at 40-50.

  25. “generally not big and strong enough to seriously injure each other in collisions”

    This would mean that not a single High School football player has ever been injured because they aren’t “strong enough”.

    It’s not about strength. My buddies dad was in a car accident, going 5mph, and now has permanent brain damage. You can’t tell me that just because you aren’t strong doesn’t mean you can’t hurt someone – or yourself.
    _________________

    This is one of the most unbelievably stupid things I have ever read in my life. Initially I wanted to leave it alone, but as a man who played high school football, has been in a serious car accident, has suffered a major brain injury, and can still read, process, and respond to information more sensibly than this guy, I feel that this stupidity needs to be addressed.

    First off the quote“generally not big and strong enough to seriously injure each other in collisions” has been taken remarkably out of context. The subject of that sentence was eight year old children, not high school players. So there’s the first two paragraphs taken care of.

    As for the third paragraph, I don’t want to get all high school physics on everybody, but yes, that is still all about strength. A 2000 pound car traveling at 5 miles an hour delivers about 15000 pounds of force when it collides. As for the injury, brain injuries are unbelievably diverse and individualized. The nature and cause of brain injury is very rarely correlated directly with results. Whatever happened, I can more or less guarantee you it wouldn’t have happened if his car was 48 pounds and moving at four miles an hour like an 8 year old football player.

  26. All sports are dangerous to some extent , baseball -pitcher hitting batter in the head with the ball,hockey-puck in the chest, point is it is up to each parent to decide if they believe the minimal risks are worth the multitude of benefits from playing. I wouldn’t demean a parent for not allowing their child to play.

  27. higgy1 says:
    May 8, 2012 5:02 PM
    Maybe Lavar II wont be a bust like his dad

    Busts don’t make probowl or all pro teams dummy.!

    Only thing that hurt lavar was injuries.

  28. I agree people are getting softer and softer! In kids sports these days it’s an “EVERYBODY WINS” mentality and that is just not true in real life. It is a disservice to children to make them think that everything is fair and everyone wins simply because in the real world it is not like that, people fail, some suck, and that is what hard work, perseverance, and over coming adversity is all about… YOU CAN’T NERF THE WORLD!!!

  29. Definition of Ironic:

    Football fans coming to a football sight and talking out against football.

    Honestly, do you have NOTHING better to do?

  30. Wow. There are many professions that people don’t want their kids doing, but are supportive if they do. Many movie stars have said they’d discourage their kids from going into show business. They know what a cutthroat business it is. A football player that’s been there and done that shouldn’t have to explain that HE personally doesn’t want his kids playing football. Remember, he has a wife that should have a say also. And I’ve seen Brenda Warner and many other wives, cringe with every play. They know this is what their husbands do, but that doesn’t make them not get emotionally involved, and yes even fearful.

    I can say that IF I were a stunt person, I probably wouldn’t want my kids to follow in my footsteps, but if they did, I couldn help them with the process. I’m sure Kurt feels the same way.

    I don’t understand players calling other players out for their personal choices. Don’t worry what Kurt is doing, worry about what YOUR kids are doing and your choices. Afterall, they are YOUR choices.

    Can’t believe this has turned into grammar school, “my daddy can beat up your daddy” pissing contest.

  31. Or you could play the colts 16 times a year and not have to worry about being hit. Those players couldn’t fight themselves out of a wet paper bag.

    HTTR!!!!!

  32. I’m not against kids playing football as long as they are taken care of properly but from some of these players comments I wonder if they realize there are “physically strenuous activities” out there that don’t involve so much violence….

  33. I wish your son good health. I worried for 12 years from midget thru college with the worry increasing with each level. I never prayed so much as i did when he was in college. Can’t imagine the pro level worry for a parent.

  34. Does anyone remember when Arrington wouldn’t allow his likeness to be used in Madden that was pretty “Sissy” haha

  35. Great! Now Arrington…earlier today it was Lance Briggs sounding off. How many players opinions are we going to have to hear about this junk? I get it! Play NFL, get hurt. Not very many people are backing away from the game yet, in fact according to BleacherReport, over 253 players were drafted and even more weren’t but are also currently on rosters. Is there REALLY nothing else to write about besides “today So-and-So said blah-blah-blah” about hard hitting in the NFL. Warner, Toomer, Briggs, Arrington….will they ever shut up?

  36. No wonder you were always considered anti-social, LaVarr. So not playing football is sissy? Dude get a grip!

  37. A 2000 pound car traveling at 5 miles an hour delivers about 15000 pounds of force when it collides…Whatever happened, I can more or less guarantee you it wouldn’t have happened if his car was 48 pounds and moving at four miles an hour like an 8 year old football player.

    This is a little out of context. Assuming these numbers are correct, the only way the man would experience that force is if his head was squashed between a car moving at 5 mph and an immovable wall. More than likely the man was in the car and something freakish happened, like the airbags deploying unnecessarily. Besides, concussions happen when the brain slams into the skull. All it takes is for the head to accelerate or decelerate very rapidly, and that doesn’t take much force if the person isn’t able to control their head for some reason, a la shaken baby syndrome.

  38. whoisedgy says:
    May 8, 2012 5:15 PM
    Note to LaVarr:
    My sons did not play football, yet they deployed to Iraq. They are not sissies. A-hole
    ————————————————–
    Actually, Lavar’s father lost a leg when it got crushed under a tank in Vietnam, so I highly doubt you need to convince him your son’s aren’t sissies.

  39. @dmackerman

    You’re life is probably a perfect example of being scared of everything. Sissification is an awesome term. Not that LaVar is or isn’t an idiot, but he got this one mostly right. Be carefull on your high horse dmackerman, I wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself as you dismount.

  40. I think what he’s really saying is that the issue of concussions is being so overblown that he’s starting to believe that football at different levels will eventually go the way of boxing or go away all together. Therefore his comments are more defiant than anything else.

    I realize concussions exist but like everything else in the US today we are spending everyone’s time worrying about the few. Is it really about player saftety or is it really a legal way for the former disgruntled players to get back at the NFL for not paying them all these years. Are concussions the LEGAL train to ride to make this happen. Considering there are more concusssions in Soccer than US football and no one’s talking about taking their boys and girls off the pitch I’m guessing its more about money than health!

  41. kathyisintheroom says:
    May 8, 2012 5:28 PM
    whoisedgy says:
    May 8, 2012 5:15 PM
    Note to LaVarr:
    My sons did not play football, yet they deployed to Iraq. They are not sissies. A-hole

    ************************

    That is your opinion.
    ——————
    Why don’t you tell that to his sons in person.

  42. All due respect LeVar, I liked you at PSU and so wanted to see that same player in the NFL, but I felt cheated because of the sissification of your play.

  43. GHOSTHOUSE says:May 8, 2012 5:09 PM

    A bust doesn’t typically make 3 pro bowls, tard.

    The pro bowl is a big name contest, How did you put it lets see “tard” did you go to the Lavar school of english ?

  44. I’m amazed he stopped bashing the Redskins long enough to talk about something else.

  45. What do we expect him to say?
    Its in the culture of those who play and who coach and who watch the sport. That’s the big issue.
    A wide receiver lays out to catch a ball in the end zone, gets it, is totally unprotected, the safety he beat reaches out as he goes down grabs the head of the receiver and smashes it into the end zone.
    Its not a penalty, its a highlight clip you see 200 times a week on the NFL network celebrating the last season….
    The receiver had laid out, he was going to hit his head unprotected anyway.

    But the NFL network celebrates it.

    Its in the nature of a bias that you do not know you have it, and the bias in favour of punishing violence for the sake of punishing is built into the NFL.

  46. dmackerman says:
    May 8, 2012 4:59 PM
    “generally not big and strong enough to seriously injure each other in collisions”

    This would mean that not a single High School football player has ever been injured because they aren’t “strong enough”.

    It’s not about strength. My buddies dad was in a car accident, going 5mph, and now has permanent brain damage. You can’t tell me that just because you aren’t strong doesn’t mean you can’t hurt someone – or yourself.

     ——————-
    Generally = in most cases, usually

    Just thought you could use the definition

  47. Lol @ Rick Valdez, nice Junks reference. As a fan of the Redskins for well over 25 years, they have had little positive to speak of. If you can name a time where they have NOT deserved bashing please enlighten me.

    And did someone pull the effing military card. *EYE ROLL* That’s worse than the “what about the children” or “race” card. Lavar is an active participant in the Wounded Warrior project and from a military family. His dad has no legs as a result of war, btw. As our English buddies would say, “Know what you’re on about, guvnah…”

  48. One of the biggest problems with youth football is the fact that players’ parents tend to be much more bloodthirsty than their kids. If your kid has it in them to be the next Ray Lewis, fine. Otherwise, don’t push that aspect of the game so much.

  49. Definition of Ironic:

    Football fans coming to a football sight and talking out against football
    ————————————————-

    I thought the definition was “a bunch of idiots on a plane dancing around to a song made famous by guys that died in a plane crash”.

    At least that’s what Buschemi says.

  50. I usually despise Lavar Arrington, but have to agree with him 100%. America is becoming soft. I mean, I played tackle football in the back yard with friends, etc. Nothing like bouncing your head off the ground. I rode my bike without a stupid helmet. If we want to be a great country again, we need to raise football players and not soccer players or worse XBox players. I played football myself for many years and have coached youth football for many years. Football is a great sport and I hope it lives forever.

  51. Ya know, I’m starting to wonder why I bother worrying about the retired players. Most seem to know what they were getting into — let them trade the glory and money for poor health later. No skin off my back.

  52. Whether kids play or don’t is up to the parents. Why is everyone so concerned about how people raise their kids? Will former players let others parent their kids? Raise your own and worry about your own.

  53. There is a balanced approach to this. Football is a great sport, but it’s not Imperative for kids to play peewee. Wait until junior high and allow their athletic skills and bodies to develop in other sports. There are a tremendous lack of knowledgable coaches in youth league at end up doing more harm than good. They are more concerned with reliving their high school glory vicariously through 8 year olds than teaching the game properly.

  54. No one has ever said its football or nothing. Only football players seem to think its football or obesity. there are other alternatives for those who want their kids to play sports and not receive as much head trauma.

    Parents are allowed to help their children make educated choices and get treatment for any injury. for whoever said we are sissifying our kids by not letting them play football is stating an uneducated opinion. there is wrestling, baseball, basketball, and the list goes on. there are alternatives out there for those who want their kids to go other directions.

    what happens in 15 years when lavarr is having depression and memory loss? will he continue to call everyone sissies or will he file a suit like the others?

    and for those who are blasting a guy’s sons that have been deployed and are calling them sissies because they didn’t play football, shame on you. i spent 7 years in the infantry. come try the job they are doing sun up to sun set and then continue to call them sissies. you make me sick.

  55. 1. There is rampant sissification in this country, yeah its time to move forward in things, but SUDDENLY acting like football is dangerous is a joke… a huge one. 2. Arrington wasn’t a bust, his career was severly damaged by chronic knee issues, I suppose Bo-Jackson was also a bust in the end. 3. Everything Arrington has is because of football, so if he thinks this whole mess it much ado about nothing, it probably is to him. 4. If you are so concerned about how “dangerous” this game is, why are you on a football sight, I’m sure ProSoccerTalk would love the additional usage. The game most of us love is founded in humanities’ most basic drive, to impose one’s will on another, generally through violence.

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