In an interview broadcast on the biggest day in the NFL calendar, Donald Trump said he would have a “hard time” letting his son play football. Everything you need to know about Super Bowl LIII Read more The president made the statement during an interview set to be broadcast on CBS’s Face the Nation on…
In an interview broadcast on the biggest day in the NFL calendar,Donald Trumpsaid he would have a “hard time” letting his son play football.
The president made the statement during an interview set to be broadcast on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, hours beforeSuper Bowl LIIIkicks off in Atlanta. Asked if he would be comfortable letting his 12-year-old son play a sport that has been repeatedly linked to brain trauma injuries, he described it as a “tough question”.
“[Would I let him play] if he wanted to? Yes. Would I steer him that way? No, I wouldn’t,” said Trump.
Barron is a talented soccer player andhas played for DC United’s Under-12 team. Trump said he was more comfortable with his son playing soccer.
“I just don’t like the reports that I see coming out having to do with football,” said Trump. “I mean, it’s a dangerous sport and … I thought the equipment would get better, and it has. The helmets have gotten far better but it hasn’t solved the problem.
“So, you know, I hate to say it because I love to watch football. I think the NFL is a great product, but I really think that as far as my son, well I’ve heardNFLplayers 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’s comments are in contrast to those he made during a campaign rally in 2016, when he complained that “football had gone soft”.
“The whole game is all screwed up,”he saidthen. “You say, ‘Wow, what a tackle.’ Bing. Flag. Football has become soft. Football has become soft. Now, I’ll be criticized for that. They’ll say, ‘Oh, isn’t that terrible.’ But football has become soft like our country has become soft.”
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, which can only be diagnosed after death, has been found inhundreds of former football playersalthough it is often associated with NFL veterans rather than young athletes. Symptoms of CTE include depression, memory loss and mood swings.
Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback who knelt during the national anthem in protest at racial injustice and has since been exiled from the league, has been a talking point during the build-up to Sunday’s gamebetween the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.
The NFL has struggled to find acts to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show as artists have saidthey will stay away, in solidarity with Kaepernick. Trump hasattacked Kaepernick and other playerswho knelt during the anthem in the past. He was asked on CBS if he thought the quarterback had a point about racial injustice in the US, particularly when it comes to the number of African Americans killed by police.
“Well, you know, I’m the one that had passed judicial reform,” said Trump. “And if you look at what I did, criminal judicial reform, and what I’ve done – President Obama tried. They all tried. Everybody wanted to do it. And I got it done and I’ve been, you know, really – a lot of people in the NFL have been calling and thanking me for it.
“They have been calling and thanking, you know, that people have been trying to get that taken care of and it’s now signed into law and affects tremendous numbers of people, and very good people. I think that when you want to protest I think that’s great. But I don’t think you do it at the sake of our flag, at the sake of our national anthem. Absolutely.”
Trump was referring to a package of prisons and sentencing reform,passed with bipartisan supportin December.
The only African American Republican senator, Tim Scott, has described the president as “racially insensitive”. Trump denied he had a problem attracting black voters.
“I have a great relationship with Tim and certainly with his state, South Carolina, and- where we do very well,” he said. “And I think if you look at the numbers for African American unemployment, best numbers they’ve had – literally the best numbers they’ve had in history. And I think they like me a lot and I like them a lot.”