President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he would let his son Barron Trump play football if he wanted to, but that he would not steer him into that decision.
"I just don't like the reports that I see coming out having to do with football … I mean, it's a dangerous sport and I think it's really tough," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
"I thought the equipment would get better, and it has," he continued. "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 heard NFL players saying they wouldn't let their sons play football. So, it's not totally unique, but I would have a hard time with it."
The president noted that Barron Trump, who will turn 13 next month, enjoys soccer, a sport he said is "moving forward rapidly" in the U.S.
At a rally in 2016, President Trump said “football has become soft like our country has become soft.”
“The whole game is all screwed up. You say, ‘Wow, what a tackle.’ Bing. Flag. Football has become soft. Football has become soft," he said. "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.”
New research has emerged in recent years that has showed the causes and effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated trauma to the head.
A number of NFL players have been diagnosed post-mortem in recent years with CTE, raising questions about the safety and future of the sport.
In August 2014, the NFL agreed to a $765 million settlement in a lawsuit brought against the league by former players. The league did not admit any liability or that brain injuries were the result of playing football, but the money will be split among former players and medical researchers. A federal judge has not yet approved the deal.
Former President Obama said in a 2014 interview that he would not let his son play football if he had one. He compared choosing to play despite knowing the dangers to smoking.
"These guys, they know what they’re doing," said Obama, who smoked cigarettes. "They know what they’re buying into. It is no longer a secret. It’s sort of the feeling I have about smokers, you know?”