- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

An MSNBC panel on Alex Wagner’s “Now” all nodded in approval Wednesday to a statement by the president in an interview with the New Republic that the federal government needs to regulate the violence in football.

“In terms of regulating this stuff, there is such a narrative in Washington about government overstepping its bounds — government getting overly involved,” Miss Wagner began. “Do you feel like there is bipartisan support to regulate safety in the [National Football League]?”

Rep. Bill Pascrell, New Jersey Democrat, said that there is growing support in Congress for new NFL regulations, assuming football players are joining these teams while being completely unaware of the dangers involved.

Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, even blamed the NFL for “covering up” the personal safety threats that players face.

Other panelists speculated that helmet technology could be improved and that America’s violent culture somehow relishes in watching people get beat up. The panel did not include anyone who opposed government regulation in the sport.

President Obama recently took a swipe at football, saying he would “have to think long and hard” before letting his hypothetical son play the sport.

“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,” the president told The New Republic in its Feb. 11 issue.

“In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting,” he said. “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.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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