In recent months, politics and American football have been clashing increasingly often. Congress and the Obama administration have found themselves on the opposite side from the NFL over issues ranging from health concerns and doping to a team's racist name and the league's nonprofit status.
President Obama is the most recent entrant to the fray. Following a smattering of comments over the course of the two years that hinted at his concern over concussions in football, Obama brought together leaders of national sports leagues at the White House on Thursday for a Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit. At the event, the president announced numerous partnerships with sports organizations, including a $30 million program in conjunction with the NCAA and the Defense Department for concussion education, and a $25 million pledge from the NFL to fund a variety of strategies to reduce concussion rates. While the conference focused on the safety of young people, the NFL could be worried that future generations of pro football players (or their parents) might shy away from the sport in favor of safer pastimes.
Obama has remarked on safety in football before. Last year, he told The New Republic, "I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence." In a conversation with The New Yorker in January of this year, Obama said outright, "I would not let my son play pro football."