The Norman Transcript

January 29, 2013

Can’t a guy answer a question?

By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — I turned on the radio today, and in addition to our president being a socialist who wasn’t born in the United States who wants to take away everybody’s guns, it turns out he wants to take down our favorite game too.

You’ve heard of it.


Big game on Sunday.

Really, how was the guy ever elected twice? If only everybody would have known about his coming anti-football crusade.

The other guy had his “47 percent” gaffe, but Barack Obama, with all of his friends in the media who have no interest in breaking stories and making more money and furthering their own careers if it means writing negatively about him, was able to keep this part of his agenda under raps.

Strange then, that he’d announce it in an interview with “The New Republic.”


“I’m a big football fan,” he said, “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.”

You know there has to be a big soccer agenda waiting in the wings. It’s the world’s game, just waiting for a Manchurian candidate to spread its gospel.

The President said he worried less about the pro game.

“NFL players have a union, they’re grown men. They can make some of these decisions on their own,” Obama said. “And most of them are well-compensated for the violence they do to their bodies.”

But who’s looking out for the student athletes?

“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,” Obama said. “That’s something that I’d like to see the NCAA think about.”

The nerve of the guy.

Doesn’t the President of the United States understand he’s not supposed to have opinions like this. Doesn’t he get that there’s no place for thoughtful commentary from the likes of him?

Football, like the U.S. Armed Forces, has gotten along just fine without presidential interference for more than a century and … oh, all right, bad example.

Anyway, doesn’t he get that he’s a politician, involved in setting public policy, in appointing Cabinet members, judges and ambassadors, in kibitzing with world leaders about world-leaderly stuff? Where the heck does he get off discussing the physical welfare of his fellow Americans?


That’s enough.

I can’t keep it up.

Can’t the President of the United States be taken at face value? Can’t he answer the question given to him? Or, if he’s supposed to embrace the stupid idea that he’s forfeited the right to answer questions at face value, is he at least allowed to offer the nation reasonable food for thought?

You know, the last time he waded into college football waters, he came out against the BCS and the next time the BCS reevaluated how it determined a national champion, it came up with a four-team playoff.

Maybe it wasn’t a single presidential thought that created the playoff system that goes into effect in 2014, but it sure didn’t hurt.

Just saying.

He’s been right before.

Read his words.

How is thinking “long and hard” about football (or anything else) crazy or out of line?

There are whackadoodle youth coaches in every sport, football included, and we’re learning more and more about the long-term implications of brain injury (which is a more descriptive and accurate term than “concussion”) and old football players are dying young, sometimes by their own hand and are clearly experiencing a host of issues not suffered in anywhere near the same numbers by the general population.

The NFL is doing everything it can to stay ahead of the issue, even as former players sue it for keeping them in the dark about the long-term cost of all those concussions.

It should be applauded for its efforts, but yes, if the NFL willfully kept its players in the dark just as tobacco companies willfully kept the public in the dark about the addictive qualities of nicotine, it should be held responsible.

Along the way, it shouldn’t be lambasted for turning the sport into a contest of sissies simply by restricting the right of defenders to lead with their helmet.

I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the way they were tackling back when helmets were made of leather the same way hockey players didn’t board each other’s noggins before helmets were required.

I digress.

Where were we?

Who is Barack Obama to think about, care about, have an opinion about the son he’s never had or a sport in search of its soul?

At the very least, he’s a guy who gets the rest of us thinking about such things.

I’m all right with it.

We’re better for it.

Thank you Mr. President.


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