Marco Rubio Has A Pretty Shocking Take On Football

Jena Greene | Reporter

New York Times reporter Ken Belson tried to run a hit piece on football this week titled, “Football’s True Believers Circle the Wagons and Insist the Sport Is Just Fine.”

The article begins, in part:

The game, [attendees] insisted at the annual conference of USA Football, the N.F.L.-funded national governing body for the sport, is vital to the American experience, essential for its survival, and it doesn’t have a health and safety problem as much as it has a messaging problem…These were the true believers in just about everything about the gridiron, from its leather-helmeted roots to the high-tech 21st century edition of the game. Preaching largely to the choir, the speakers urged about a thousand youth and high school football coaches and administrators to assure parents the game is not as dangerous as the neurologists and naysayers claim, and that the lessons about discipline and teamwork playing football provides far outweigh the risks.

Though Belson’s condescension for the sport is palpable, some of its prominent fans, former players, and executives he interviewed begged to differ. One of those fans is Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

“It does come with some risk,” Rubio told Belson at the Orlando-based USA National Football Conference. “You know what else comes with some risk? Life.”

This is a pretty interesting take coming from Rubio. Given the increasing pressure put on legislators and league professionals to curb football’s risky customs, most politicians aren’t proudly touting the benefits of the sport. But Rubio’s son plays in a youth league and the Senator doesn’t seem too concerned about the potential risks outweighing the benefits.

Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy agrees.

“I don’t want to sound like President Trump, but the liberal media has got football in its cross hairs…It is a mistake to focus solely on the risks associated with football and not to focus on the tremendous benefits.”

There’s no doubt that many liberal reporters and scholars dislike football for a laundry list of reasons. It’s violent, it’s hyper-masculine, and it’s the embodiment of red-blooded American capitalism. Plenty of people on the other side of the aisle have a problem with the league for allowing players to kneel during the National Anthem, which resulted in a drastic drop in ratings this season. So it’s pretty surprising that prominent public figures like Rubio and Murphy would come out and embrace it despite the game being bogged down in controversy.

Many experts say Sunday’s Super Bowl LII ratings will serve as a good test for America’s appetite for the sport moving forward.

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Jena Greene

Reporter

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