President Obama and Bernard Pollard Are Askin’ Questions About The NFL

Barack Obama and Ravens safety Bernard Pollard both came with some hard-hitting comments in reference to football player safety.

Obama told The New Republic he'd have second thoughts about his hypotetical son playing the game.

"I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football."

The President believes there will have to be significant changes in how the game of football is played and coached in order to ensure the long term health of the game.

“We have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence. In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, 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."

He’s even more concerned about college players and is even willing to hold the NCAA accountable.

"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."

 "You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That's something that I'd like to see the NCAA think about."

Even the concerns of the leader of the free world won’t convince players to change as long as they’re more concerned about getting flagged and fined than their long term health.

Pollard seems conflicted to say the least. On one hand he seems to be angry with the changes and feels they will signal an end to the NFL’s popularity.

"Thirty years from now, I don't think it will be in existence," he told CBS Sports. "I could be wrong. It's just my opinion, but I think with the direction things are going — where (NFL rules makers) want to lighten up, and they're throwing flags and everything else — there's going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it."

Yet, in the follow up, he seems very concerned that the end will come with deadly blow.

"The only thing I'm waiting for … and, Lord, I hope it doesn't happen … is a guy dying on the field," he said. "We've had everything else happen there except for a death. We understand what we signed up for, and it sucks. …Like I said, I hope I'm wrong, but I just believe one day there's going to be a death that takes place on the field because of the direction we're going."

The NFL and football in general rule our sporting world.  It is the golden goose but it’s all contingent on the fact that our best American athletes play football.  What if AJ Green, Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones decided to run track instead of football? Or imagine if Tony Gonzalez and Julius Peppers would’ve stuck with basketball?  

There are a lot of sports that would be bolstered by having a chance at some of the athletes who end up playing football. The NFL, NCAA, and all other football governing bodies need to get ahead of this because if more parents feel like Obama, and don’t allow their kids to play, it’ll kill the cash cow. If you don’t believe me check out the decline in great, American-born heavyweight boxing stars.


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