Posted January 29, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII participants disagree with Obama’s remarks on football

Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers

NEW ORLEANS — President Obama told The New Republic in an interview that, if he had a son, he would “have to think long and hard before I let him play football”, citing the dangers of the sport.

Suffice it to say, the players and coaches participating in Super Bowl XLVII disagreed with the president’s assessment.

“If President Obama feels that way, then (there will) be a little less competition for Jack Harbaugh when he gets older,” said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh of his son, who shares a name with Jim and John Harbaugh’s father.

“I think that’s a great answer,” John Harbaugh added later during the Ravens’ media session. “Football’s a great game. And everybody who’s played the game know what a great game it is, and what it provides young people, and what it provided someone like me — an opportunity to grow as a person.

“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.”

Obama’s comments figure to be front and center again later this week when commissioner Roger Goodell holds his annual state of the league address. Goodell has very publicly attempted to combat the growing number of serious head injuries suffered by NFL players, though many would argue that not enough has been done.

The Ravens have long been known as one of the league’s most physical teams. Safety Bernard Pollard upheld that reputation in last Sunday’s AFC title game with a a crunching blow on New England running back Steven Ridley that left Ridley with a concussion.

Pollard defended his play — “It’s just a tackle. It’s football,” he said after the Ravens win — but then told CBSSports.com that “30 years from now, I don’t think (the NFL) will be in existence … with the direction things are going” in terms of policing the players.

“The truth is football takes its toll on our (lives) and our bodies,” veteran Baltimore safety Ed Reed said. “We age faster than everyone (because) of what we do — it makes you think about your livelihood after football, how much you’re going to have to spend on your body.

Still, Reed said he has staved off the adverse effects of the game with extra work off the field. And, almost universally, the 49ers and Ravens who spoke Monday fell in line with Reed’s thinking: that football is a dangerous sport, but one worth the risks.

“It’s not like we signed up and thought we were going to play tennis,” San Francisco’s Aldon Smith said. “It’s a physical game. Everybody plays hard — and guys get hit sometimes. That’s what we all know coming into the game. We all signed up for it.”

78 comments
TheLazyComic
TheLazyComic

You have to overlook the comment Mr. O says about football. They didn't play football in Kenya and Indonesia.

Taras_Bulba
Taras_Bulba

OK then. If you are incapacitated as a result of your "signing up", please do not engage in class action suits in order to extract compensation because you're having trouble placing the porridge spoon into your mouth at the age of fifty. Just accept you are aging at an accelerated rate.

DavidHarte
DavidHarte

Well, there's a surprise.  Let these morons spend a few hours with the kids of Junior Seau, or Dave Duerson, or Alex Karras; hell, let Harbaugh take his old Bears' buddy, Jim McMahon, out to lunch.  The problem is they'd have nothing to talk about because Jim has early stage dementia...at 50.

 

Football is not "a test of manhood", it is far worse than that.  And if you'd ever had to watch a grown man struggle with the most basic elements of day to day life because his head was beaten into submission thirty years earlier because of a game?  That's a test of manhood.

 

Don't let athletes talk.  They're just not up to the job.  Try a neurologist instead.  Listen to a little brutality of fact as to what football can do to your brain.  (And do you really think Muhammad Ali has lived for thirty years as a shadow because of "bad luck"?)

 

What a country: freedom, violence and diabetes.

 

 

inetadv
inetadv

Most high school kids don't face any of the severe brain perils or life altering dangers being discussed here. The SIZE and SPEED of the athletes, and hence the violent forces of the collisions involved, are on an exponentially lower scale than the swift behemoths of pro ball, or even major college. (That's physics.)

 

Most high school coaches I had experience with responsibly taught their kids - even back then - how to properly shoulder tackle without using your head as a spear. Concussions were very few and far between - almost non-existent. I played football in high school and it was one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of my teens. If my son wants to play, I would support and encourage him.

 

As for those mentioning 'bum knees' and 'bum shoulders', these are a potential by-product of practically all active competitive sports - baseball, basketball, hockey, wrestling, lacrosse, skiing, bmx, motorcross, etc.  I HOPE my son wants to play football in high school. I don't think I could take the 'excitement' of watching the ball go endlessly up and down the field and constantly out of bounds a hundred times in a 'thrilling' 0-0 soccer match!

kwasserm
kwasserm

This is just like evolution, global warming, etc. In the end, science will vindicate Obama.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Ii guess it's time for all the Obama haters out there to accuse the president of trying to force his opinion on everyone else, even though he was ASKED a question. Which he answered honestly. 

Which is something a lot of folks just can't understand.

RayWhorton
RayWhorton

This article is misleading. Ed Reed said he want to be part of the solution. Ed Reed wants to hold his grandchildren 20 years ago the same way the Harbaughs will. Most of the players will either shoot themselves in the heart, suffer extreme health problems, or be mentally out of it while the Harbaughs will earn themselves video games named after them in peace. If the coaches were black and the majority of players were white, reforms for the game would be considered morally the right thing to do.  

IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

I guess its time for all of the Obama worshipers out there to accuse everyone involved in the Ravens and 49er organization of being racist, right-wing nut jobs for disagreeing with their deity in the white house.

mikemillman
mikemillman

I am 48 years old and have messed up knees and a bum shoulder from football.  At 20 years old I had no understanding of the long term consequences and toll my body was paying. 

I have steered my son away from football.  Most don't play a lick after high school.  Many sports available to children can be played for much of your life after high school or college.

mikemillman
mikemillman

Every business has a responsibility to address safety issues of their employees.  The NFL has looked the other way when it comes to health and safety issues.  I have met several retired football players and many of them are physically and some mentally a mess. 

 

Last I checked, it was illegal to pay someone to hurt someone else? 

 

Last I checked, as a society we watch out for our children?  Adult men can make these choices if the information is clear, which it hasn't been.  But kids aren't aware of the long term consequences of their actions.  

 

The NFL has recently show their disregard for player health and safety with the proposal to add more regular season and playoff games.  It is about money to many of these owners and the players are a way of generating that money and some don't give a crap about their employees health or safety. 

IdaAnnaTaylor
IdaAnnaTaylor

Yeah, they signed up for it... which is why that stupid lawsuit against the NFL is just that - STUPID!!  These guys know the risks and still want to play. 

JimHilles
JimHilles

Up to 3.8 million Americans are getting concussed per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2043395_2043506_2043494,00.html #ixzz2JLhtxVCn

 

Maybe we should all just sit around with padding surrounding us.  It happens in everyday life.  Players have chosen to play a violent sport and concussions do happen.  Study of the injury is good for the sport so it can be found out how best to prevent it.  I too played basketball with Dave Duerson, albeit in high school, and it is tragic what transpired.  This article to me is a non-starter.  The President has his choices as does everyone else and the last I looked, no one has forced anyone to play professional football.

inetadv
inetadv

F   Obama.

 

I couldn't possibly care less what his opinion about football is.  Maybe the dictator-in-chief will issue yet another executive order next month - banning football.  Smartest guy in the room, my ahse

kwasserm
kwasserm

Interestingly, Obama was gym buddies with David Duerson. He isn't a total outsider in this debate.

ColbyCasto
ColbyCasto

I would say most guys in the NFL would disagree.  I personally would have no trouble with my child playing football when and if he wanted to.  If  Obama wouldn't let his kid, so be it.  His opinion on the matter is no better than mine.  

kwasserm
kwasserm

Obama is right. Retired NFL players are just beginning to experience the full effect of taking that many hits over that period of time. As more players retire, more lawsuits will be brought against the league. I have heard people say that "there won't be an NFL in 30 years," but usually what they are talking about is that everyone will find out about the brutality of the sport and reject it in horror - the opposite of what Pollard is saying. I just think that players, especially linemen who take blows on every play, should be forced to retire early. Also, there should be stiff enforcement of penalties for crushing blows. You can only have so many concussions before you are permanently disabled.

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @Taras_Bulba Clearly some football players signed a mysterious contract and others did not. The guy who wrote the contract should come forward and explain his inconsistent coverage.

RedNeckerson
RedNeckerson

 @kwasserm You must mean that the same way credible scientist are moving away from defending evolution and global warming, they will move away from defending the safety of football.

inetadv
inetadv

 @Rickapolis So why does he choose NOW to start answering questions honestly?

inetadv
inetadv

 @RayWhorton Ah, yeah - the race card is played at last. SOMEONE had to do it.

Mark A
Mark A

 @JimHilles Ok, now how many of those 3.8 million have repeated concussions.  How many return to the activity that concussed them 1-2 weeks later?  How many of them pretend they aren't concussed out of fear of losing their jobs.

 

We all love football, and most of us would like it to be safer, but still fun.    The President did not propose any sort of ban on football, and by all accounts is himself a football fan.  He is simply acknowledging what the commissioner has already basically admitted ... football currently leads to too many head injuries, and those injuries and not yet well enough understood.

Mel
Mel

 @kwasserm An insider in this debate? He has never played organized football, he has never worked with organized football on any level,. I was a gym buddy with a lesbian once. That make me an insider to all things lesbian? LOL

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @ColbyCasto Would his opinion matter more if brain surgeons supported it? There has not been significant research on the subject but I would wager that in the future, the opinion of the science community will play a very large role in this debate. We're just getting started.

badflounder
badflounder

 @kwasserm I agree.  People are way too short sighted.  I played football growing up and all through high school  I would not want my son playing football.  The NFL will go on but more and more parents will push their kids into soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.  There was a time when people couldn't imagine baseball, boxing, or horse racing not being the most popular sports in this country.  The NFL is not invincible; the injury issues will lead to it's decline.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm Enough of the dramatics.  Humans have been participating in violent activities since pretty much the beginning of recorded history.   Football is a blip on the radar of this violence.   If you are so concerned about humanity, focus your energies on  yelling at the politicians that spend their days approving bomb drops and drone strikes that are killing innocent people.  Unless, of course, that does not matter as long as it happens outside our borders.

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @Mel  @kwasserm No but it may give you an emotional attachment to the plight of lesbians.

ColbyCasto
ColbyCasto

 @kwasserm Would the doctor also say that if a kid got a concussion riding his bike, driving a car, hit in the head with a baseball, etc.  My point is, not everyone that plays the game gets a concussion.  We cannot and will never know everything there is to know about head injuries because everyone is different.   I really doubt that Obama has done any more research on the  subject than you or I have.  That is why his opinion on the matter really doesn't have much of an effect on my.

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @kwasserm  @ColbyCasto Case in point: In a recent article on ESPN, I found the following paragraph: "While some doctors would clear a player after symptoms subside for the week following a concussion, others would mandate at least a week off before returning to play, despite passing all tests. When I asked one respected neurologist what he would advise a parent about when his son should return to play after a concussion, his answer was: "Fifty years." No one truly knows."

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @JoeCabot  @kwasserm That's a rather useless comment. How does any of what you just wrote have anything to do with my post? I see no logical counterargument here.

badflounder
badflounder

 @JoeCabot  @kwasserm ROFL.  You're a genius.  You start your post by crassly saying "Enough of the dramatics"; then, rail about politicians, bomb drops, drone strikes, etc.  ROFL

Justice
Justice

 @kwasserm  @ColbyCasto Obama proven correct?  His statement was that he'd have to think twice about letting his son play football.  That's an opinion with no answer.  Go suck off his balls some more homer.

ianforbes
ianforbes

 @ColbyCasto  @kwasserm So, you would let your son/daughter experiment with dangerous drugs, or tightrope walk across a gorge, or jump out of a airplane with a small chute? Of course you would allow your loved ones to do these things because you're not over protective and would allow your loved ones to lead their lives as they see fit. You certainly wouldn't dictate to them what is and what is not safe. Certainly, as long as you gave them as much information as possible, you'd be ok if your loved ones decided it was in their best interests to snort coke...cause in the end you would just be concerned about letting them do what they want. Hey, not everyone gets seriously injured or dies from dumb decisions, right? I think I understand your logic now.

matt37
matt37

 @ColbyCasto  @kwasserm I suffered at LEAST 4 concussions in grade school.  One from wrecking my bicycle.  Once from falling out of a tree.  One happened playing tackle football on cement. And I took a fastball off the temple one time.  I wasn't much more than an average little boy-kids just get hurt when they play outside.  The problem is similar to the PED argument.  Personally, I don't care what adults making millions of dollars do to themselves to compete.  But to get to the NFL, you have to show the goods in college.  To play in college, you are at an advantage if you've played high level HS ball.  And so on...it trickles down.

 

Similarly, while I don't care about the personal choices adults in the NFL make, if it is proven to be imminently dangerous to kids......the NFL is in trouble in the future.

ColbyCasto
ColbyCasto

 @kwasserm I will not bash you for your opinion, but I do disagree.  Who gets to decide what amount of risk someone gets to take?  I would answer that question with no one but the person taking the risk.  This may be off subject, but I think as a society we are over protective.  We need to let people lead their lives as they see fit, and quit trying to dictate what is and what is not safe for other people.  I see no problem with giving people as much information as possible but in the end stop trying to make people do what is safe and let them do what they want. 

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @ColbyCasto It should change dramatically. I think that there is room for some risk. Maybe not the current level of risk, though.

 

We'll have to see, but for the time being, the studies that have been published do corroborate Obama's fears and suggest that change is needed.

ColbyCasto
ColbyCasto

 @kwasserm  Let me ask you a question. If football is proven to be dangerous, should it be outlawed?

 

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @ColbyCasto I think that one day, we will know for sure how dangerous football is. If the current trend in brain injury research continues, I suspect that Obama will ultimately be proven correct. I just have to make sure that I don't get ahead of myself right now.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm  Why do you care what I do?   You don't have to respond, although I give you credit for doing so, given that it cannot be easy to keep leading cheers for a failing government and political system.

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @JoeCabot Dude I think you need a break. How about you log off and go read Atlas Shrugged or something.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm  @JoeCabot Are you kidding?   You products of the big government system are easy.  I can take potshots at you guys and gals, and poke holes in your fantasies and pseudo-theories in my sleep.  You people are so afraid to see what kind of world is outside of your two-party box that you would rather go down like rats on a ship than to even consider life without the politicians and bureaucrats that make you false promises on a seemingly hourly basis.  Taxes, laws, rules, regulations, fear.  This is what they peddle and what you worship.  Well done.  Now get back to demonizing football.  You may save the world from destruction.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm  It was inevitable that you would eventually veer off the road, going from leading cheers to utter hypothetical bs.  The key word in your post is may, and there is absolutely no way you can back that sentence with anything other than party-driven wishful thinking.  Congratulations on supporting the entire broken, destructive system.  Now, instead of  spending more time lapping at the president's toes, is it not time for you to get out and lead the fight to take more of my income, take away my guns, take away my right to own guns, force me to buy health insurance that I don't need, tell me what food I can eat and what beverage I can drink,  how my success and wealth is due to the hard work of others, and how that success and wealth is evil and should be penalized?

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @JoeCabot Significantly fewer than may have died had Obama not intervened.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm  I am sure he would be flattered.  Every president in the past century has some warmongering on his resume, and there is no way that Barry was going to be left out.   After all, he has to keep his friendship and connections with the military-industrial complex so he can cash in some chips later in his career.  By the way, how many innocents have died in this spring that you write about glowingly?

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @JoeCabot Obama would be flattered by your attribution to him of credit for starting the Arab Spring.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm  And the amusement level gets ratcheted up.  You can assure me of no such thing.  We are over there provoking and poking, and if it were a republican administration you and the rest of the lefties would be yelling and screaming.  Under President Barry, you imagine that we are only there as peacemakers.   The depths to which so many of you go along without challenge is frightening.   Oh, by the way, innocent people are still dying in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @JoeCabot I can assure you that no Western power started the wars in Libya and Syria.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm  Justification is the backbone of the democrat and republican parties.  Congratulations on making the team.   War is war, whether from the ground, the sky, via a NATO action, or an outright invasion.   I would guess that if any country killed a US citizen during a NATO action with no ground troops, you would be up in arms and calling it war.

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @JoeCabot Libya: NATO action, no ground troops, highly successful. Syria: No invasion yet that I have heard of.

 

Yes, I am a brainwashed Democrat on most issues and I like it this way.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm I have read numerous posts over the past four years attempting to absolve Barry from any blame for the wars that we have been engaged in during his administration.  Yours is right at the top of the list for originality.  You have been sold a bill of goods by the Big Government Party - you know, that out-of-control behemoth in DC consisting of the highest ranking democrats and republicans in the land.   That said, if you wish to stick to your amusing definition of warmonger, well, Barry qualifies.  See Libya. See Syria.  Oh, and your definition will likely do little to comfort the folks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the rest who are dying at the hands of those to whom he is commander-in-chief.   My god, you two-party acolytes are scary.  Do some research on thinking for yourself instead of spouting some talking points from your party-issued handbook.

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @JoeCabot You are comparing violence in sport to violence in war. It is the fundamental reasoning behind all of your posts. I do not think that even if Genghis Khan agreed with Obama on the football question that he would be a hypocrite.

 

My definition of warmonger is "starts wars."That is all I can say.  In any case, Obama's foreign policy is much less violent than the potential foreign policy of a Republican.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm My point is not about comparing football and war.  There is no comparison.  My point is in pointing out the hypocrisy of any politician, including Barry O, who want to preach about violence, but then turn around and lead the warmongering around the world.  Voted against the Iraq war is the best you've got?  Do your homework & see how many have been killed by bombs, guns, and drone strikes by the Obama war machine in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, and Libya.  If the president wants to debate football, I think it is okay for us to debate politics on a sports forum.

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @JoeCabot I don't really think that that's a valid point because comparing violence in war and violence in sports is basically comparing apples and oranges.

 

But to get back to your point, I disagree with you that Barack Obama is a warmonger. Quite the contrary. No only did he vote against the Iraq War when it first started, but he also ended it.

 

But of course, this is no place to debate politics, is it?

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm Of course they don't care about our game of football.  I am simply pointing out the hypocritical ways of our politicians, including the current and past presidents, who preach about the evils of guns in our society, or the violence of football, while daily giving orders to kill in countries thousands of miles from here.

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @JoeCabot The last justified war was World War 2. And I don't think that the innocent families in various countries receiving our munitions give a sh** about American football. The foreign policy of George W. Bush has nothing to do with the Barack H. Obama's views on football. I repeat, nothing. You still aren't making any sense.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm  Nonsensical?  You, the president, and plenty of other bleeding hearts preach daily about the dangers and violence of everyday life, and how we need to curb or eliminate things like football.  Yet you will justify war with a few taps on your keyboard.  Do you think the innocent families in various countries receiving our bombs and drones are okay with you demonizing football but okay with killing their friend, family, and neighbors.  Oh, and name the last justified war.

kwasserm
kwasserm

 @JoeCabot  @RogerMcCray Another nonsensical comment. Soldiers go into harm's way to protect the United States of America. Football players go into harm's way to entertain America. I don't even think I should have to explain that one of these things is very much worth the risk of life-altering injuries (when the war is justified) and one is most assuredly not.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @RogerMcCray  If they want to bow to media pressure, so be it.  We are all free to do what we want with our lives.   Given the outcry about the violence of football and the long term effects, if high school and college kids are ignorant about it all, well, they are not paying attention.   This entire argument seems a bit silly in the larger picture, when you consider that kids from the same demographic enter the military, with much more potential for violence, and in many cases, death.   Where is the outcry about that?  The president worries about his imaginary son and the violence in football, yet he has no issue playing commander-in-chief and sending the sons and daughters of other parents onto battlefields around the globe.

RogerMcCray
RogerMcCray

 @JoeCabot  @kwasserm Do you think football players understand the full affect of their decision to play football when they start playing?  While I agree with your sentiments on the ridiculousness of the previous comments you also understate the decision to play football.

 

Most NFL players start playing football as a youth and have no concept of the injuries their body will sustain. To make the NFL you have to be amazing so you know their entire life they have been revered for their football abilities. Can you envision a teenager or a college guy stopping football because of long term effects of the playing? By the time they get to the NFL it's their whole life and they are making some great money, even the lowest paid ones are making tons more than the average person, and I don't see them giving that up.  And when they give it up early to save their body they get torn apart in the media, Tiki Barber. When do you expect them to stop the cycle? As a teenager, rriiiigggghhhttttt, as a college student being revered by so many? Or on the cusp of the NFL when they are about to cash in on their life's work?

 

So, it's not as simple as "they know the risk going in"

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @kwasserm  Football is a violent game & all involved know that going in.  Unless they outlaw blocking and tackling, it will always be violent.  Forcing players to retire early?  Stiff enforcement of penalties for crushing blows?   You big-government types always think that one more rule or regulation is going to create your paradise-on-earth.  If people want to play football, who are you to tell them that they have to quit early.  Live your life.  Let others live theirs.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @badflounder  Real life.  Leave the sport page once in a while & you might read about it.