President Obama sent out the biggest, loudest warning sign yet about the health risks of playing football. But when his words, in an interview in The New Republic, hit the nation’s eyes and ears last weekend, the only thing remembered was “the NFL.”
That’s the context into which Obama’s remarks have been placed—mainly, “If I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.”
But the core of football’s problems lies right where he put them, with athletes much younger than those in the NFL.
In fact, he didn’t mince words about the players one level below the pros, and those words packed just as strong a punch.
“I tend to be more worried about college players than NFL players in the sense that the NFL players have a union, they’re grown men, they can make some of these decisions on their own, and most of them are well-compensated for the violence they do to their bodies,” Obama said in the interview.