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On April 27, he was asked about Mr. Sterling’s inflammatory comments during a news conference while abroad in Malaysia and seized the opportunity to condemn the Clippers owner.

“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything. You just let them talk,” Mr. Obama said.

On concussions and football, however, the president has taken a more proactive approach. He has been asked about the subject — including in a 2013 interview with The New Yorker in which he said, if he had a son, he might not have allowed him to play football — but also has injected himself into the debate, as evidenced by the White House summit.

For some in Washington, the focus on the link between concussions and football can be a source of frustration.

“I’ve been talking about concussions my whole time here,” Rep. Jon Runyan, a New Jersey Republican who spent 14 years in the NFL, told The Washington Times. “It does get upsetting when people sit there and point the finger at football because there are other sports that have just as many or more injuries.”