President Barack Obama is a big football fan with two daughters, but if he had a son, he says he'd "have to think long and hard" before letting him play because of the physical toll the game takes.
"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," Obama tells The New Republic.
"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."
Tom Brady Sr., father of the New Englad Patriots' star quarterback, would agree with Obama. In 2012, he said that he'd be "very hesitant" to let his son play football if he was to make the decision now, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
The reason, Tom Brady Sr. explained, is that he knows more now about the long-term dangers connected to the concussions and head traumas that are part of the sport. He also threw his support behind former star quarterback, Kurt Warner, who took flak for saying that he would prefer his sons not play football.
“This head thing is very frightening for little kids,” Brady Sr. said. “There’s the physical part of it and the mental part – it’s becoming very clear there are very serious long-term ramifications.”
In an interview in the New Republic magazine's Feb. 11 issue, Obama said he worries more about college players than he does about those in the NFL.
"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," Obama said. "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."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello responded Sunday, "We have no higher priority than player health and safety at all levels of the game."