Joe Theismann: I Would Allow My Children to Play Football

Michael Morris
By Michael Morris | February 2, 2018 | 1:52 PM EST

Washington Redskins QB Joe Theismann during the 1982 NFC Championship game (Screenshot)

In a WMAL interview on Mornings on the Mall with Mary Walter and Vince Coglianese Friday, former Notre Dame and Washington Redskins quarterback and Super Bowl champion Joe Theismann addressed Justin Timberlake’s remark that he would not allow his son to play football, Theismann saying, “I would allow” my kids to play football.

“I would say this: If my children were younger, I would allow them to play football,” Joe Theismann responded, when asked whether he thought people should allow their kids to play football now.

Justin Timberlake is scheduled to do the halftime show at U.S. Bank Stadium for Super Bowl LII. Timberlake recently stated in an interview that his son “will never play football.”

Below is a transcript of Theismann’s comments on Mornings on the Mall Friday:

Coglianese: “I’ve got some audio here. Justin Timberlake, he’s the halftime performer this week, and he said and interesting thing about the idea of having young boys play football. I want you to hear it.”

Timberlake: “He will never play football.

“No, no. I mean, yeah, it’s kinda like that thing where my main objective is that he become a great person.”

Coglianese: “He doesn’t want his son playing football. And that’s—there are a lot more parents these days, saying that, especially with all the concussion concerns.

“Is that the approach to this? Do you think that people shouldn’t let their kids play football now?”

Theismann: “I would say this: If my children were younger, I would, I would allow them to play football.

“I would certainly do two things: I would see who the coach was going to be and how they’re being taught, and then I would also research the technology that’s available to protect them.

“And I ask parents all the time, if you don’t want your child to play football, you know, certainly you want them involved in some type of activity. What would it be? ‘Well, soccer.’ Well, what do you hit with a soccer ball? You hit your head.”

Coglianese: “Right.”

Theismann: “And I think that when it comes to youth athletics, youth football, there’s so many life’s lessons that are learned. You learn how to deal with someone else. You learn how to—there’s a nutritional element. There is an educational element because you have to learn plays. You learn how to win. You learn how to lose. You learn how to take authority from someone else other than your parents. I think there’s, there are multiple life’s lessons that can be learned.

“But I would encourage parents to go out, and like I say, see who’s teaching your young person how to play the game. Look at the techniques that are being taught. And then, do the research. There are different websites. For example, I’ve been a part of a company called Unequal. The website is We make different things for soccer, for lacrosse, for hockey, for football, for baseball to try and help protect the young people when it comes to youth sports.

“So,  technology’s extremely important, and the National Football League continues to work tirelessly to try and protect their athletes.”

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