Obama weighs in on Tim Tebow, Penn State punishment

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“I have been a big admirer of Penn State football. ... Joe Paterno was a great football coach,” Obama told WBNS Radio in Columbus, Ohio. “But there are some things that are just more important than sports. Making sure our kids are safe is more important than sports.” 

An investigation last month found the university’s legendary football coach Joe Paterno helped cover up sex abuse charges against an assistant.

Obama said he agreed with the decision by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), in response to the investigation’s results, to vacate the university’s football wins from 1998 through 2011, along with laying out a $60 million fine and fewer scholarships.

“I think it was appropriate to send that message that we’ve just got bigger priorities here,” he said. “We have an affirmative responsibility to make sure that we’re preventing predators from taking advantage of [our kids].”

Paterno died of complications from cancer in January.

Obama also weighed in on NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, saying New York Jets football fans are likely “nervous” now that the star of “Tebow-mania” is on the team.

“If I was a Jets fan, I'd be pretty nervous," Obama said.

"Tebow seems to be a wonderful young man and he's got just a great winning attitude,” Obama said. “He really steps up when things count, but there's going to be a lot of tension in that situation. So it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”

Tebow started “Tebow-mania” last season but this season joins a team with an established quarterback in Mark Sanchez, as Obama pointed out.

"I've got to tell you, I don't like the idea of a quarterback controversy at the start of the season," Obama said

Tebow earned plenty of outspoken Republican supporters in Congress as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos last season, in part due to his outspoken Christian faith, but Obama had not weighed in.