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Putting the comments of Tom Brady Sr. in perspective

tom-brady4 Getty Images

Much has been made about the comments from the father of Pats quarterback Tom Brady regarding whether one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history would have been permitted to take up football as a youth.  And much of what has been said centers on the possibility that the next generation’s Tom Brady will never play football.

I would be very hesitant to let him play,” Tom Brady Sr. told Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports earlier this week, as to the question of whether a 14-year-old version of Tom Brady would be allowed to take up the sport in 2012.

The anti-football crowd gleefully has seized on the observation as a warning that the crop of future elite quarterbacks may be in jeopardy.  The anti-football crowd, however, has ignored the last line of Silver’s article.

“If he were 14 now, and he really wanted to play, in all likelihood I would let him,” Tom Brady Sr. said. “But it would not be an easy decision, at all.”

At a certain point, it also wouldn’t be Tom Brady Sr.’s decision.

As anyone with a young man in the range of 14-to-17 in the house knows, they can be persistent and assertive and there’s really only so much that can be done to forbid them from playing football.  And even if a parent has the ability and the will to slam the door on an activity in which his or her son desperately wants to engage, the son can always take up the sport in college.

Yes, the road to the NFL may be more challenging at that point.  But no more challenging than going from the 199th pick in the draft to the Hall of Fame.

Besides, there’s a line between shielding kids from harm and putting them in a plastic bubble.  While parents have an obligation to protect their children from obvious hazards like, you know, washing machines, it’s not as if playing football equates to walking on a high wire without a net or juggling three sticks of dynamite with burning fuses.  Yes, playing football presents risk of injury.  It always has.  But the benefits continue to outweigh those risks, even if parent will continue to worry about their sons being injured in any number of ways.

And so, even though some parents may now be more hesitant to let their kids play football, the kids who really want to play — and the kids who have the ability to play at a high level — will still find their way onto the field, if not in high school then in college.

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26 Responses to “Putting the comments of Tom Brady Sr. in perspective”
  1. joetoronto says: May 24, 2012 6:50 AM

    My little guy is playing football because he wants to and I’m fine with that.

    So many parents don’t realize that wrapping their kids in bubble wrap is hurting them, not helping them.

  2. lawyermalloy says: May 24, 2012 6:50 AM

    “As anyone with a young man in the range of 14-to-17 in the house knows, they can be persistent and assertive and there’s really only so much that can be done to forbid them from playing football.”
    Interesting, but wrong assessment.
    If a parent truly doesn’t want their kid to play football and refuses to sign a permission slip, what are the realistic chances he’ll just show up at a college, after his 18th birthday AND not playing during HS, and make the team?

  3. dirtybird28 says: May 24, 2012 6:51 AM

    I for one will encourage my children to play football or any sport for that matter.

  4. jimr10 says: May 24, 2012 6:52 AM

    Yes, the Hilary Clinton crowd wants us to be more european and play soccer. I find archery to be more exciting than soccer.

  5. pickensclause says: May 24, 2012 6:59 AM

    I don’t want Tommie to play da foosball- Foosball is the Devil!

  6. anpsteel says: May 24, 2012 7:09 AM

    … And even if a parent has the ability and the will to slam the door on an activity in which his or her son desperately wants to engage, the son can always take up the sport in college.

    ————————————————

    This just isn’t true.

    Even at a JuCo or DIII school, a person who has not played organized football at the HS level, has almost no chance of making the team. And by almost no chance I mean effectively zero. If you had 100 guys on a highschool team, there might be 1, that actually had the physical gifts to – “sight unseen” start playing organized football at the collegiate level, and succeed. In reality, that number is less than 1%, because there are plenty of HS football programs where, out of that hypothetical 100 players- there are zero that could accomplish this.

  7. mj1818 says: May 24, 2012 7:14 AM

    I agree with Tom Brady Sr. that it is a decision that needs some thought. However I think he has it backwards. Now IS the time to let your kids play because there is so much more awareness out there and much better care for it. It’s going back to the 70s 80s and 90s, that parents should say what he said.

  8. tropboi11 says: May 24, 2012 7:45 AM

    I’m 28 now but when I was younger my father kept me from playing football because he said I was to small, he got me into baseball which was fine with me cause I was good at it and have made 20+ lifetime friends from it, but my father played football not baseball.

  9. sj39 says: May 24, 2012 7:47 AM

    One of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history? Are you aware of when the NFL was founded?

  10. nomesayin says: May 24, 2012 7:56 AM

    “Besides, there’s a line between shielding kids from harm and putting them in a plastic bubble”

    Plastic bubble? I’m sorry, Bubbleboy. The card says “Moops”

  11. jetsguy1117 says: May 24, 2012 8:08 AM

    This is the dumbest thing I ever read. Right or wrong, overprotective or not, I assure you 999 out of 1000 kids who don’t play pop Warner and don’t play high school bc parents won’t let them WILL NOT play college football.

  12. scottyd27 says: May 24, 2012 8:13 AM

    I have a 16 and 14 year old sons. Honest to god they’re making what’s left of my hair go gray. They play football, baseball and something called soccer. The oldest wants to join the military (to follow in the old man footsteps). This must have been how my parents felt. As much as i want to protect them from everythign bad that can happen, that will serve to only not let them develop into the men they can be. I do however advise them to keep their options open.

  13. dexterismyhero says: May 24, 2012 8:31 AM

    Go take up golf then. Great sport.

    Kids will play football, baseball, hockey, parents will complain, and the world will go on.

    Saints fans will complain also.

  14. donstylo says: May 24, 2012 8:31 AM

    14-year-old version of Tom Brady?

    But I thought Justin Bieber already had a successful singing career!

  15. gophersnot says: May 24, 2012 8:36 AM

    So, if they can’t play a sport, how do we keep active and avoiding obesity?

  16. kacapaco says: May 24, 2012 8:56 AM

    Why would Tommy’s father worry abt conclusion knowing that D players are forbidden from even breathing close to him?
    Btw, this is from Pats fan.

  17. schmitty2 says: May 24, 2012 9:17 AM

    Little Tommy would have nothing to worry about. The Pee Wee refs would protect him

  18. east96st says: May 24, 2012 9:22 AM

    “the son can always take up the sport in college.”

    Not if he expects me to help pay for college and he ain’t getting a football scholarship if he doesn’t play in HS. You sure you’re a dad? Because teenagers are pretty easy to rein in when you cut off the funding. Once they are 18, you’re right that they can do what they want. But, as the parent, I can pay, or not, for whatever I want.

  19. millertime30 says: May 24, 2012 10:06 AM

    my parents didn’t let me play my first year of youth football as a 3rd grader because i weighed maybe 70 pounds.

    I still let them hear about it at every opportunity.

  20. millertime30 says: May 24, 2012 10:10 AM

    also.. the parents on here bragging about how easy it is to completely control every aspect of your kids life: your child will be completely unprepared for the real world, and you will have no one to blame but yourselves. just keep that in mind

  21. morgan420 says: May 24, 2012 10:18 AM

    I’m a parent of two boys and I’ve played football from age 6-17 and I understand first hand what the risk is. However you gain so much in football such as, friendships, mentors, education, exercise “and as kids thats very important”, respect, discipline and so much more, so will I let my boys play? hell ya I will

  22. mornelithe says: May 24, 2012 12:50 PM

    Not sure why this is such a big deal lately, parents being concerned over their kids safety is a completely normal thing. I would expect any parent seeing their kid go into a full contact sport like Football would seriously consider their healthy/safety while also weighing the child’s desire to play.

  23. exhelodrvr says: May 24, 2012 1:09 PM

    Equating not letting your children play football to putting them in bubble wrap is a ridiculous analogy. If parents think that it is physically too risky, there are plenty of other activities that also provide virtually the same benefits of football.

  24. Deb says: May 24, 2012 5:55 PM

    Yes, of course, I was censored on this thread, too. Here I commented rationally on concussions, traumatic brain injury, and helmet technology. Maybe if I’d said “peepee” or one of the other things you boys enjoy posting, you’d have included my comment.

  25. bubs9 says: May 24, 2012 9:17 PM

    I guess it is easy to make these comments now after your son is famous, has made millions and married a super model. I’m sure if Tom Jr was unemployed and living in Tom Sr’s basement, he would be whistling a different tune

  26. bcgreg says: May 25, 2012 4:47 PM

    @ jimr10

    Especially if you can bring the bow and arrows into the soccer stadium.

    Beckham lines up the kick…is that an arrow in his calf?

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