NEW ORLEANS – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would "absolutely" want his own child to play football.
After President Barack Obama recently said he'd "have to think long and hard" about allowing a son to take part in the sport, Goodell was asked the same question hours before Sunday's Super Bowl during an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Like the president, Goodell has two daughters. The commissioner deflected the question about allowing a son to play football by noting the high incidence of concussions in girls soccer.
In an interview with The New Republic, Obama had said he loved football but worried about the long-term effects on players of the game's hard hits. Thousands of former players have sued the NFL, alleging that not enough was done to inform them about the dangers of concussions and not enough is being done today to take care of them.
Asked by Bob Schieffer on Sunday whether the league hid the risks of head injuries, Goodell said, "No."
Goodell declined to confirm that there is a proven connection between the sport and medical problems in retired players. He emphasized that the NFL is funding research to learn more about the risks and changing rules to make the game safer.
Goodell said he had no concerns that football could go the way of boxing, a sport now far less popular than in its heyday.
"I couldn't be more optimistic about it because the game of football has always evolved," the commissioner said. "Through the years, through the decades, we've made changes to our game, to make it safer, to make it more exciting, to make it a better game for the players, for the fans, and we have done that in a very calculated fashion."