Trump won't steer son towards American football

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump on Sunday said he would prefer his youngest son to play soccer rather than American football, describing gridiron as "dangerous".

In an interview with CBS' Face The Nation, which aired as millions of Americans prepared to watch the National Football League's Super Bowl, he said he was concerned about the safety aspects of the sport, which has been reeling from reports about brain injuries from concussions and repeated blows to the head.

"It's a very good question," Mr Trump said when asked if he would allow Barron to play.

"If he wanted to? Yes.

"Would I steer him that way? No."

Barron, who turns 13 next month, plays soccer.

"He's liking soccer. And a lot of people, including me, thought soccer would probably never make it in this country, but it really is moving forward rapidly," Mr Trump said.

Explaining his concerns about American football, he said: "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.

"I thought the equipment would get better, and it has. The helmets have gotten far better but it hasn't solved the problem.

"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 - I would have a hard time with it."

Former US president Barack Obama, the father of two daughters, said in a 2014 interview that he would not allow his son, if he had one, to play pro football.

Mr Trump has feuded publicly with the NFL over quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players - most of them black - kneeling during the national anthem to protest against police brutality. The president has called for players who do not stand to be suspended.

Asked about the controversy, he replied: "When you want to protest I think that's great. But I don't think you do it at the sake of our flag, at the sake of our national anthem."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 05, 2019, with the headline 'Trump won't steer son towards American football'. Print Edition | Subscribe