In an interview televised before the Super Bowl, President Trump said that he’d have “a hard time” letting his 12-year-old son (and soccer player) Barron play football. He joins a growing number of parents who, in light of overwhelming evidence about the dangers of repeated blows to the head, express trepidation about letting their kids play football in light of the health risks.
“I just don’t like the reports that I see coming out having to do with football — I mean, it’s a dangerous sport and I think it’s — I — it’s — really tough, I thought the equipment would get better, and it has. The helmets have gotten far better but it hasn’t solved the problem,” Trump told Face the Nation.
“So, you know I — I hate to say it because I love to watch football. I think the NFL is a great product, but I really think that as far as my son — well, I’ve heard NFL players saying they wouldn’t let their sons play football. So it’s not totally unique, but I — I would have a hard time with it,” he added.
Among the prominent players who’ve made similar comments are Drew Brees, who won’t let his sons play football until they reach their teenage years, and Hall of Fame quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw, Kurt Warner, and Brett Favre.
President Obama made similar comments in 2014, telling The New Yorker that he would not let his son play pro football. That makes this one of the rare issues on which the two men agree.
Trump’s comments on Sunday reflected a much different attitude than the one he has expressed before. In 2016, he mockingly referred to a concussion as “a little ding on the head.” When the NFL changed its rules in an effort to reduce the risk of concussions, Trump accused the league of “ruining the game.”