Foul Ball? Parsing The President’s Comments On The Dangers of Pro Football

 
on January 19 2014 4:27 PM

On a day when much of the nation will be watching the NFL playoff games, President Barack Obama’s opinions about the safety of professional football make clear where he stands on the sport’s concussion controversy.

 

“I would not let my son play pro football,” he is quoted as saying to New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick. “… These [athletes], they know what they’re doing.”

 

Some may feel that Obama’s concerns may be premature or misplaced. While the growing incidence of neurological problems has garnered increased attention lately, some respected observers aren’t ready to condemn the NFL just yet. In a controversial documentary for the PBS series “Frontline” called “League of Denial,” some critics contend that the studies on pro football’s effects on the brains of its players are inconclusive.

 

But like with smoking cigarettes, people choose to maintain the status quo long after the dangerous effects have been conclusively proven. As Obama said in the New Yorker article: “They know what they’re buying into. It is no longer a secret. It’s sort of the feeling I have about smokers, you know?”

 

 

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