Trump calls football "dangerous," would "have a hard time" letting son Barron play

Trump would have a "hard time" letting son play football

President Trump says he would have a "hard time" allowing his 12-year-old son Barron to play football amid growing concerns over the safety of the sport. Mr. Trump sat down with "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan for a wide-ranging interview ahead of Super Bowl LIII.

"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," Mr. Trump said.

"I hate to say it because I love to watch football," he said. "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," he added.

The NFL announced last week that concussions were down 29 percent in 2018, from 190 a year ago to 135 this season.

Mr. Trump's relationship with the NFL has been fraught with tension during his time in office. Amid growing protests against racial injustice led by NFL players on the sidelines of pro games, the president has said players should be forced to stand as the national anthem played, claiming players were being disrespectful to the American flag and service members. 

"You can't be kneeling for the national anthem. You have to respect our flag and our country. I want that as president and I'd want that as a citizen," Mr. Trump said. "But they haven't been kneeling and they have been respecting the flag and their ratings have been terrific ever since. And a lot of good things happened." 

The president also claimed many people in the NFL have called to thank him for the work his administration has done toward criminal justice reform. 

"They have been calling and thanking, you know, that people have been trying to get that taken care of and it's now signed into law and affects tremendous numbers of people, and very good people. I think that when you want to protest I think that's great," he said. "But I don't think you do it at the sake of our flag, at the sake of our national anthem."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital