NEW ORLEANS––The topic du jour on Monday in New Orleans was safety in the sport of football, especially in light of remarks recently made by U.S. President Barack Obama to The New Republic.
As part of a longer interview, Obama said:
I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football. And 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 some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much.
Reporters from around the world have glommed onto the words of the American president and wanted to get the reaction from both players and coaches participating in Sunday's Super Bowl.
When asked about Obama's thoughts on football, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh related a story about his own son, a rather amusing anecdote.
“Well I have a four-month old, almost five-month old son, Jack Harbaugh," said the father, "and if President Obama feels that way then there will be a little bit less competition for Jack Harbaugh when he gets old.
"It’s still early. Like I said, Jack is only five months old. He is a really big kid. He has an enormous head. We don’t have a forty on him yet, but his wingspan is plus one and as soon as he grows into that head he is going to be something. It’s early, but expectations are high for young Jack.”
That's Jim Harbaugh for you. A little bit crazy, a little bit quirky, always entertaining.
Jim's brother John Harbaugh, coach of the Baltimore Ravens, was also asked about Obama's comments and said he liked what Jim had to say.
"Football is a great game," added John Harbaugh. "Anybody that’s played the game knows what a great game it is. What it provides for young people, what it provides for people like me is an opportunity to grow as a person. It’s challenging, it’s tough, it’s hard. There’s no game like football. It’s the type of sport that brings out the best in you, it kind of shows you who you are."