PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump wouldn’t steer son Barron toward football, saying it’s “a dangerous sport” and he “would have a hard time with it,” but also wouldn’t stand in the way if the soccer-playing 12-year-old wanted to put on pads.
The NFL fan told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview taped before the Super Bowl that football is “really tough.”
“I’ve heard NFL players saying they wouldn’t let their sons play football. So. It’s not totally unique, but I would have a hard time with it,” Trump said.
He said equipment, including helmets, has improved “but it hasn’t solved the problem.”
Trump believes the NFL “is a great product.” But as for Barron playing, the president called it a “very tough question.”
“If he wanted to? Yes. Would I steer him that way? No, I wouldn’t.”
Trump has, in the past, bemoaned that football games have become less violent. The NFL and college football have increased penalties and enforcement for illegal hits to the head and for hitting defenseless players.
“They’re ruining the game,” he said during a rally in Alabama in September 2017.
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He said players were being thrown out for aggressive tackles, and it’s “not the same game.”
The NFL announced in late January that reported player concussions were down 29 percent in 2018 from the previous year. The league said there were 135 documented concussions in that span, compared to 190 in 2017.
President Barack Obama, the father of two daughters, said in a 2013 interview with the New Republic that he would “have to think long and hard” before letting a son, if he had one, play football because of the risk of head injuries.
Obama also said football may need to change to prevent injuries.
Contributing: USA TODAY Sports’ Lorenzo Reyes