NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell responded to comments made by President Obama said last week.
President Obama stated that if he had a son, he was not sure if he would let him play football over concerns about concussions in the sport and the long term effects that head injuries could have on its participants.
Goodell rebutted to these concerns on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Super Bowl Sunday morning that he would “absolutely” let his children play football. These are pretty strong comments in response to President Obama, and also very misguided. First of all, both President Obama and Commissioner Goodell have children. Obama was answering the question regarding allowing his son to play football, which he does not have. Obama has two daughters.
Goodell, similarly, has two daughters. No son. So how can he honestly say that he would allow his son to be subject to head trama? One can only guess.
Secondly, what is Goodell supposed to say?
His job is to make the NFL owners money and increase the popularity of the sport. Obviously, increased popularity is a huge part of the money-making machine which is the NFL. If he were to balk at letting his hypothetical son play, then imagine what his response would be if did in fact have a son. He like Obama, would probably not allow his son to play.
Now in fairness to Goodell, he has been instrumental at implementing new rules to help limit the possibility of increased head injuries, so he is aware of the situation and is making strides in players’ safety.
However, mothers and fathers who have to make the decision to put their children in youth football leagues may steer them away from football and into other youth sports because of the increased awareness of concussions and their life-long side effects.
In theory, if a lower number of athletes were to participate in football, the assumption can be made that the NFL will not have the best athletes because there could be a lower pool of talent at the lower levels of particiaption.
At any rate, Goodell should have found another way to phrase his statement. It seems too easy to make that kind of response to President Obama when Goodell does not even have a son to consider.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo