Obama wouldn’t let his son play “pro football”

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As we were preparing for the first of two potentially epic NFL conference championship games, the SportsBusiness Daily Weekend Rap arrived in the email box — and rained on the otherwise clear-skied parade of high-intensity football contests.

President Barack Obama tells the New Yorker in a new interview, “I would not let my son play pro football.”

President Obama, who made his comments while the Panthers and Dolphins play on November 24, attributed his position to recent information about the health risks of football.

“At this point, there’s a little bit of caveat emptor,” Obama 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?”

Obama, a recovering smoker who was chewing a piece of nicotine gum while speaking, overlooks a couple of important factors in reaching his conclusion.

First, Obama doesn’t have a son.  It’s impossible to comment with any degree of reliability on what a parent would or wouldn’t do with a son unless and until said parent actually has a son.

Second, there’s a point at which parents can’t stop their kids from doing what they choose to do.  By the time the decision comes to play pro football, Obama’s non-existent son would be an adult.  If Obama Jr. wanted to play football (and if he possessed the requisite skill), Obama Jr. would be playing pro football.

Third, Obama Jr. presumably wouldn’t need to pursue football as a way of paying for college.  For children of families with lesser means, an athletic scholarship may be the only way to finance a university education.

Of course, for those who can’t pay for college, there’s always the military.  And if the Commander-in-Chief wouldn’t allow his son at the age of 21 or older to play in the NFL, what would he say if his nonexistent 18-year-old son (or his two daughters) declare an intention to join the military, which entails far greater long-term and short-term physical hazards than pro football?

Yes, football carries with it risk.  So does plenty of other activities, including driving a car — which I’d prefer that my own 17-year-old son not do.  While parents with male children have every right to harbor reservations about their sons playing football at the youth, middle school, high school, college, and/pro level, it would be nice if people in prominent positions of influence who don’t have sons would think twice before speaking in absolutes about hypothetical situations that they ultimately would have a hard time controlling.

67 responses to “Obama wouldn’t let his son play “pro football”

  1. A lot of things have risk in life. One of them is a sport, a national pastime, and a business that many people love and respect so dearly; it’s our game of football. For a politician to disrespect the game because it’s too dangerous for one of his own children is a rather insensitive and disheartening position to take. People should be encouraged to take worthwhile risks, and everything I have come to known in this world has suggested that competitive sports, including football, are indeed worthwhile risks. To discourage or block or prevent somebody from being excited to participate is extremely disappointing. But I expect disappointments from this politician, that’s what he is an expert at. Talking a big game and then delivering nothing but disappointment.

    This country still needs a leader just like losing football teams need a GM. Your team is only as strong as how wise and great your leader is, and we have a weak one right one in both mind and spirit, and naturally weak results and a weak position to operate from relative to what we should have. This politician is just operating from a warped perspective, and he is out of touch with the people and the culture of America. It’s really unfortunate that he holds the top office of all offices. That’s just too bad for us all.

  2. A few counter arguments to your points.

    First the idea that it is impossible to form an opinion unless he has a son is completely false. He is a parent and understands the idea of protecting them, and to hypothetically say if one was a boy he would not be allowed to play football is completely legitimate.

    Second Obama Jr cannot be stopped from playing profootball but Obama JR can be stopped from playing Pop Warner, Jr High, and High School ball. Thus making it highly unlikely he will be able to play at the level to start in college and have a shot at the pros. So directly he cannot stop his “son” but practically he certainly can.

    Third, there are plenty of programs and grants to allow a kid to get into school, especially if he is a minority. So he has chances other than sports to better his life if he chooses to.

    To the military it is true Obama would have no control over his kid on this because he would be an adult, and nothing would be stopping him from joining the military (like a lack of playing in childhood can stop a kid from being successful at football in college and subsequently in the pros).

    This are valid arguments and having someone like the President say this is only going to impact more mothers (who ultimately have the final say) in preventing kids from playing. The NFL is going to reap what they sowed, the impact of their alleged cover up and ignoring of health concerns is going to go much deeper than the $700m, it is going to cost them talent down the road and this is just a fact the NFL is going to have to deal with.

  3. Yeah… it will be President Obama’s fault when the NFL is eclipsed by professional soccer.

    NOT head injuries, obese linemen, drug abuse (steroids/hgh/pain pills/dr. rydze), etc..

  4. For god’s sake Mr. President, by the time your hypothetical son could play pro football he would be old enough to make that decision for himself. I would hope you would respect his right to decide for himself.

  5. Why? The President said he wouldn’t let his son play; who does that influence? It’s his opinion, people agree or disagree.

    It’s not that hard…

  6. I like Obama actually, but Mr President, you dont even have a son why interject in matters that dont even remotely relate to you.

  7. By the time his son was old enough to play that generation will be busy paying for the debt from obamacare. Period.

  8. What will kill the NFL is what is killing it now. Advertisements. Kick off Ad. TD Ad. Point after Ad. Field goal Ad. Player hurt Ad. Time out Ad. Play reviewed Ad. End of Quarter Ad.

  9. I think Barry’s objection does not have to do with the risk of injury. It is because it would be beneath anyone in his royal family to play such a game.

  10. I have 1 son, and 5 daughters. I have encouraged each of them to persue any endeavors they have an interest in, as long as the follow it through to conclusion….and they keep up their grades.

    All 6 have played various sports and other extra-curricular activities, to include JROTC. They are all safe & healthy adults with at least some secondary education…2 have advanced degrees. All 6 work full time, even the 1 still in college.

    None of my kids are professional athletes but, sports helped “round out” each of them, much like music, art, and drama did. Each of them is considered a “leader” in some form at their employment.

    Mr. President, I feel that as a parent, you need to feed & nurture those hopes & dreams within your kids. If that means sports, so be it. Bruises, cuts, and even broken bones will heal. Broken dreams will not!

  11. It’s simply not possible for me to care less what Obama thinks about anything than I already do. However, if Obama ran the NFL, we would have true parity as he would take players from the playoff teams and redistribute them to the losers. Hell, even Cleveland might be relevant then……

  12. Coincidentally I wouldn’t let My child be a politician. He’s learning morals and integrity. Barry, What if it was for the Bears? I heard your against smoking and yet you’re a smoker? Hypocrite Gotta light?

  13. In light of his approval rating and creditability problem, I think this man’s focus should be elsewhere.

  14. I wouldn’t let my son get a membership to Man’s Country either. But there’s not a lot you can do when they turn 18.

  15. 3 people I’m tired of hearing throw their 2 cents in on EVERYTHING:

    Merrill Hodge
    Tony Dungy (takes it upon himself to be the moral compass of NFL)
    Barack Obama

  16. Just another perfect microcosm of what I dislike about this president. Assuming his son were of the age to play “pro football,” he’d be an adult, and presumably at the age where he could make his own decisions. And really, there’s not much the president should be able to do about it that point. But the president’s MO has always been about telling adults what they should or should not be doing, or can and can not do.

  17. Mr. President, we’ve all seen you throw a baseball more awkwardly than most people’s mothers. I have a feeling that you probably wouldn’t have had to worry much about football if you had a son.

  18. Smart man.

    Who would want his kid to play a sport where his brain would most likely turn to mush, and the employer would try to low-ball financial help when he’s sitting in a chair drooling, wondering where he is?

  19. wow, this article comes across as being very scared and NOT wanting to face the truth of the matter. It sounds like you are saying, “If you don’t talk about it then it’s not true and won’t happen. So stop talking about it Mr. President!!!” You don’t even have to be a parent to give a educated opinion on this topic. I do not have children, yet and I also would not let my child play football anytime while they are living under my roof, thus basically stopping them from any kind of career in the pros. It simply comes down to, you can not stop your brain from rattling around in your skull when you get hit in the head as every football player experiences multiple times between pop warner and HS. I am not even talking about the injuries and deformities to the rest of the body from this very violent game. You comparing it to driving a car out of necessity is laughable. Comparing it to diving with sharks is a much better comparison.

  20. you know how i know hes a soft little b? well when u make statements like i wouldnt let son play football, redskins should change name, and im for gay marriage. anyone who shares those sentiments is soft and is no man.

  21. My little sister, mother, grandmother or senile old aunt knows more about sports and can play football better than you MR. President.

  22. It’s not about safety, it’s because the only ‘football’ the Kenyan knows is soccer.

  23. He wants to control everything else -why not… Don’t see a lot of athleticism in the gamily, so it’s a moot point… Probably be a delusional burnout like his old man…

  24. @jayovasoline- that’s the prob with Libs like u, it’s all about you and how you’re doing and not what’s best for the country. This empty-suit career politician doesn’t care squat about you, the people, military or the American people. If he did, he wouldn’t be off jet setting all over the world on your dime while millions suffer at home. Wish I could head 5 thousand miles to Hawaii twice a year for a vacation when I had my own retreat in my backyard (Camp David) yet never used it.

  25. Didn’t he say a while back that his son could have been Trayvon Martin? Looks like his son would have been able to play some football, after all.

  26. The President should have realized that it’s inappropriate to make comments on hypothetical situations when you have such a small spectrum of knowledge to back those comments up. While it is true that as a contact sport football can lead to head injuries there are many other contact sports that carry the same risk, ie: basketball, soccer, lacrosse, etc. My son played both football and lacrosse through youth and high school. The only concussion he incurred was not from football it was from lacrosse. My point is not that lacrosse is more dangerous but that you have to be cautious before you claim the solution it to hold kids back from playing sports due to the dangers. Being an athlete in high school and now in college has helped keep my son stay competitive in school and disciplined in his lifestyle. There are many times where his commitment to his training has also kept him from getting involved in activities that some teens engage in that are far more dangerous. It’s disappointing that the President would not have thought about his comments and their influence on many people before makings his hypothetical statement.

  27. Barry has already told us that he holds different standards for his imaginary sons. They must skulk about with burglary tools, stolen swag, and the makings of “purple lean”. No time for fripperies like organized sports in his boys’ lives.

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