As you may have heard, Barack Obama made some significant comments about football safety over the weekend that’s gotten a ton of publicity in the media. Here’s what Obama told 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. 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.
On Monday, various members of both Super Bowl teams were asked for their reactions to the prez’s striking remarks.
First let’s go to Aldon Smith, who almost sounded offended by what Obama said:
“I think the game has been like it always has. It’s a physical game. Everybody plays hard. Guys get hit sometimes and that’s what we all know coming into the game. We all signed up for it. It’s not like we signed up and thought we were going to play tennis. We came out. We’re playing football.”
Here’s Niners fullback Bruce Miller, trying to reach his “violent” quota:
“It is a violent game, but not too violent. Guys are big and explosive players so the game is violent, but I don’t know about too violent. I think they are taking caution to be careful and concerned for the players safety and taking that into account more.”
Niners offensive lineman Alex Boone seems fine with letting his son play:
“I’d let my kid play, absolutely. It’s a physical sport nonetheless. You grow up knowing it’s physical and every year it gets different. It takes a different kind of guy to play this game, I think. There are going to be injuries, and there are going to be problems. We’re looking to try to correct them.”
“Football is a great game,” John said. “Anybody who’s played the game knows what a great game it is, what it provides for young people, what it provided for people like me — the opportunity to grow as a person.”
“It’s challenging. It’s tough. It’s hard. There is no game like football. It’s the type of sport that brings out the best in you. It shows you who you are; it’s a little bit of a manhood test. And when you get done and you say, ‘I am a football player; I play football and I think that makes me special.’ Football is a huge part of the educational system in this country and it will be around a long time.”
And to steal the show, Jim Harbaugh:
“Well I have a four-month old, almost five-month old son, Jack Harbaugh, and if President Obama feels that way then there will be a little bit less competition for Jack Harbaugh when he gets old. It’s still early. Like I said, Jack is only five months old. He is a really big kid. He has an enormous head. We don’t have a forty on him yet, but his wingspan is plus one and as soon as he grows into that head he is going to be something. It’s early, but expectations are high for young Jack.”
“HAHA, SUCK ON THAT OBAMA!” Mitt Romney screams in between swigs from a milk carton from somewhere that’s not the White House.