Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Ridiculousness of President Obama’s Football Comments



He says that people get hurt playing it too often and shares that, while he’s a football fan (which is questionable, since he has a habit of saying he likes or respects professions, causes or mindsets right before he tries to take them apart), the game needs some major overhauls to protect players.

He even went so far as to strongly imply that football fans are bloodthirsty cretins who should be ashamed of themselves for enjoying such a dangerous sport. (“And those of us who are fans maybe won’t have to examine our consciences quite as much” if we baby-proofed football.) Then he threw in how parents who allow their boys to play football are probably very irresponsible (He’d think long and hard about allowing any son of his to play.)

Sure he’s a fan. Sounds like one to me.

But it’s one thing for the lets-treat-America-like-its-stupid President Obama to make such comments. It’s another to hear the well-paid NFL players share their thoughts on the subject.

There’s Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Terrell Suggs, who comes across as a delicate conformist by parroting Obama. As ABC News puts it, “Suggs respects and understands President Barack Obama’s opinion about the dangers of football – and hesitation about having a child play.”

And then there’s his fellow Ravens (Parrot? Lemming?) and delicate conformist compatriot, safety Ed Reed, who added, “I am with Obama. I have a son... I can’t make decisions for him. All I can do is say, ‘Son, I played it so you don’t have to.’”

“I played it so you don’t have to?” What is football? A war zone?

That’s the kind of thing that soldiers have the right to say to their children. Not football players. And it sounds incredibly lame and embarrassingly unrealistic to think otherwise.

The fact is that these big, tough guys know the risks involved when they play. Injuries come with any game that involves ramming into other people. And even Obama admitted that the men are well compensated for the risks. According to NFLsalaries.org:

“Athletes are among the highest paid individuals in modern day society. Nearly half of the players in the NFL earn more in salary per year than the top paid Wall Street Executives. According to the National Football Leagues Players Association, the minimum salary that an NFL player can make is $295,000 per year.”

Fortunately, not all of the Ravens are delicate conformists who don’t understand how cushy they really have it. Center Matt Birk unhesitatingly noted that he has no problem letting any of his three sons play the game when they grow up and if they so choose.

But it was a San Francisco 49er who really made the important point. Offensive lineman Alex Boone walked away from the interview asking, “What’s up with all this Obama [stuff]?And 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh flat-out laughed about how ridiculous the whole thing is.

My main comment: If football players want to be babied the way Obama wants them to be, then they should start excepting much, much smaller paychecks. Considering the principles and goals that make it what it is, the game is already baby-proofed enough.

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