Former New York Giants center Shaun O'Hara took offense to comments that President Barack Obama made earlier this week. The Commander-in-Chief said the if he had a son, he would not let him play football due to the inherent injury risk. O'Hara, now an NFL Network analyst, called the comments "irresponsible" before defending the game itself.
"I understand his concern, but this game is about so much more than just injuries," O'Hara said. "Kids, the values that they're learning by playing the game of football, the team sport, the idea of setting goals, working together with others to attain that goal and then finally achieving that goal. Those are principles in life that we all need to learn, and I think it's great. People say football will make a man out of you? No, football will teach you how to be a man."
O'Hara's first child, a boy, is due in a few months. He said that if his son wanted to play football, "I would absolutely let him," but not without some supervision
"Because it's just like anything," O'Hara said. "You wouldn't give your son a circular saw and let him go and start whittling wood. You would teach him how to use that. So my issue is, when I hear parents say, 'I don't want him to play football,' well, it's because you don't want to take the time to teach him how to do it right."
The president's comments have stirred responses from players around the league. On Tuesday, Baltimore Ravens hard-hitting safety Bernard Pollard said that he would not want his son to play football either, although he would not stop him if his son was adamant. Teammate Ed Reed said that he has definitely felt the damaging effects of football, though he admits "I signed up for it."