Well, the Prez didn't really say that. His words on the topic of football:
"If I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football."
This is another big milestone in the football story. We have hundreds of colleges and university that have big football programs; there are thousands of high schools that have teams. And the Prez says he wouldn't let his child play because of the risks? That's a hell of a message to be sending a week before the Super Bowl.
The medical evidence that connects "normal" head hits in football to mental problems years later, is not in dispute any longer. All the schools have this information, so do most of the players and their parents. Now Obama is telling that large group of people, "You're nuts!"
I wouldn't be surprised if Obama's comments end up being more of a factor than the medical evidence. That would be quite a legacy...
This topic came up on ABC this morning. (Link) George Will had this to say about football:
We have parents today, in this bubble-wrapped childhood that we now have, when they put their child on a tricycle, they put a crash helmet on them. Are those parents really apt to let them play football? This is going to be a rebellion, like the president is speaking as a parent, from the bottom up, this game is just not suited to the human body.
Steve Inskeep, NPR, responded to Will with:
There's something deeply American about the violence of this sport.
I think they're both right. America has a violent streak, we need our gladiators (and our guns). Gladiators are supposed to die, right? Who doesn't like this stuff?