Goodell to Obama: ‘Absolutely’ Would Allow His Children to Play Football

By Penny Starr | February 4, 2013 | 12:26 PM EST

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (AP Photo)

( – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would “absolutely” allow his children to play football during an interview on CBS ahead of the Super Bowl game on Sunday.

“Absolutely, I have twin daughters, just like the president, and I’m concerned when they play any sport,” Goodell said in New Orleans in a Super Bowl edition of “Face the Nation.” “The second-highest incidents of concussions is actually (in) girls’ soccer. So what you have to do is make sure the game is as safe as possible.”

Goodell made the remarks to host Bob Schieffer, who asked him about President Barack Obama’s statement in a Jan. 27 interview with the New Republic. In that interview, Obama said he was not sure if he would allow his son, if he had one, to play football.

“I'm a big football fan, 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. “And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to 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,” Obama said.

Goodell touted the $30 million donation that the NFL made last year to the National Institutes of Health – the largest philanthropic donation in the league’s 92-year history.

The $30 million donation made the NFL the “founding donor to a new Sports and Health Research Program, which will be conducted in collaboration with institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH),” according to an announcement posted on the website.

“Specific plans for the research to be undertaken remain to be developed, but potential areas under discussion include: chronic traumatic encephalopathy; concussion; understanding the potential relationship between traumatic brain injury and late life neurodegenerative disorders, especially Alzheimer’s disease; chronic degenerative joint disease; the transition from acute to chronic pain; sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes; and heat and hydration-related illness and injury,” the announcement said.

Goodell said on “Face the Nation” that the NFL is on the forefront of efforts to make sports safer across the board.

“In the NFL, we’re changing the rules,” Goodell said. “We’re making sure the equipment is the best possible equipment. We’re investing in research to make sure we can address concussions. Not just to make football safer not just on the NFL level, but all levels, and other sports.”