Barack Obama, Troy Aikman, and the Costs of Football

Today at Zócalo, as the Super Bowl approaches, Kevin Cook, author of The Last Headbangers: NFL Football in the Rowdy, Reckless ’70s, asks if we–the fans–should feel guilty about watching football players concuss their brains.

President Barack Obama thinks so. In an interview in this week’s New Republic, Obama told Franklin Foer that he’s worried about America’s football players and the uncertain future of the sport–as the country’s chief executive, as a fan, and as a parent: “I have to tell you if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.”

He echoed NFL commentator and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, also the father of daughters, who expressed the same sentiment at a Zócalo event on the NFL’s future in L.A. He said that he wouldn’t encourage his son to play the game that’s paid his family’s bills for three decades, adding that the issue of head injuries puts “the long-term viability [of football] in question as far as what this sport and the game is going to look like 20 years from now.”


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