The hard-hitting 2011 Defensive Player of the Year also says that no matter how violent the sport, his 4-year-old son will be allowed to take it up if he wants.
The president’s thoughts about the future of the NFL _ and whether he’d let a son play football _ were a main topic of conversation as Super Bowl week got under way. So much so that when San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone stepped away from his interview session, he asked someone, “What’s up with all this Obama (stuff)?”
Here’s what’s up: In an interview with The New Republic, the newly inaugurated president expressed what many other parents might be thinking following new studies about concussions and recent suicides by former NFL players.
“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,” he added. “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.”
Ravens safety Ed Reed, for one, agreed with the sentiment.
“I am with Obama,” Reed said. “I have a son. I am not forcing football on my son. If he wants to play it … I can’t make decisions for him. All I can do is say, `Son, I played it so you don’t have to.’”
Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection in his 11 NFL seasons, thinks there needs to be improvements within the league.
“We’ve got some leaks in it that need to be worked out,” Reed said. “Every medical training room should be upgraded; training rooms can be a lot better.”
And as he noted: “When you’ve got the president talking about it, you got something.”
Reed isn’t sure everyone is being trained properly or cared for adequately.
“I felt like I played the game as safe as possible,” he said. “I even tell the guys that they have to take care of their bodies, take care of themselves. If you take care of that, it will take care of you.”
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health announced recently that Junior Seau _ the star linebacker who died of a self-inflicted gunshot last year _ had a degenerative brain disease often linked to repeated blows to the head.