President Obama with the Air Force Academy football team in 2012. / Charles Dharapak AP
As Super Bowl week dawns, President Obama weighs in on tough topics shadowing the game of football: Violence and injuries.
"I'm a big football fan," Obama told The New Republic magazine, "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."
Obama said people who love the game "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."
Head injuries in the National Football League -- and their possible links to suicides -- have been the subjects of lawsuits and congressional investigations.
Obama expressed more concern about college football players than professional ones, and urged the National Collegiate Athletic Association to take more action.
"NFL players have a union, they're grown men, they can make some of these decisions on their own, and most of them are well-compensated for the violence they do to their bodies." Obama told The New Republic.
He added: "You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That's something that I'd like to see the NCAA think about."
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