With the Super Bowl still fresh in our minds, it isn’t enough to drown out the recent talk of the amount of head injuries sustained in football. President Barack Obama spoke out on the subject matter last week during an interview with The New Republic.
“I’m 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 said taking the side as a concerned father. His opinion of safety over excitement is taken blatantly when he states that in “some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players.”
This question was sparked from January’s lawsuit filed by former player Junior Seau’s family against the NFL claiming that repeated violent contact contributed to Seau’s fatal, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. The autopsy revealed that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy brought on by repeated hits to the head while playing football.
The NFL is not the only league subject to make changes. Obama states that he worries more about the players in NCAA football who, “undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on.” In addition, Obama says that he would like to “see the NCAA think about it.”
A few recent Super Bowl contenders, both players and coaches alike, spoke out on the subject post interview.
“I am not forcing football on my son. If he wants to play it, I can’t make decisions for him,” said Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens. A more strict comment was made by fellow teammate Bernard Pollard stating that his “whole stance right now” is that he does not want his son to play football.
On the complete other hand, Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, jokes about Obama’s comments. “It will be a little less competition or Jack Harbaugh when he gets older,” said Harbaugh in regards to his son.
His brother, John Harbaugh, the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, agrees with him. “Football is a great game. Anybody that’s played the game knows what a great game it is. What it provides for young people, what it provides for people like me is an opportunity to grow as a person. It’s challenging, it’s tough, it’s hard. There’s no game like football. It’s the type of sport that brings out the best in you. It kind of shows you who you are.”
Newly retired Ray Lewis, the inside linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, has two sons playing in the sport. With one in high school and one in college, he said “I can’t miss that,” in reference to his son playing at his alma mater.
No concrete plans have been set as to the exact changes that are going to be made.
With all of the varying opinions, this is not a debate that will be settled anytime soon.