Football players on the San Francisco 49ers said they would let their sons play football despite President Barack Obama's comments about how he would think "long and hard" before letting his son play football if he had a son.
San Francisco linebacker Aldon Smith said "it's not like we signed up and thought we were going to play tennis."
"It's a physical game. Everybody plays hard. And guys get hit sometimes," Smith said. "That's what we all know coming into the game. We all signed up for it."
In an interview published in the left-of-center New Republic this weekend, Obama said that if he had a son, he would "have to think long and hard before I let him play football."
"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," Obama said
. "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.
San Francisco guard Alex Boone said if his son wanted to play football, "he can play. He can do whatever he wants."
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh joked to the Associated Press that if his four-month-old son wanted to play football, he may have less competition if other parents do not let their sons play football.
"If President Obama feels that way, then (there will) be a little less competition for Jack Harbaugh when he gets older," Harbaugh said. "That's the first thing that jumps into my mind, if other parents are thinking that way."