As an 80’s baby, Bo Jackson was my hero. The world had never seen an athlete like him and possibly still hasn’t. He’s a living legend—a Heisman trophy winner and the only athlete in history to be an All-Pro in the NFL and an All-Star in Major League Baseball. I will never forget the time he absolutely trucked over Brian Bosworth on Monday Night football. Or the time he casually ran up the outfield wall after a great catch,
Every Saturday morning I watched him in a cartoon alongside Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky. I had his rookie card and I had the shoes. You know you remember the “Bo Knows” Nike campaign. The man was such a gifted athlete that they marketed him as if “Bo Knows” how to play anything.
But the nostalgia as a fan fades when the one bad memory emerges. I also will (unfortunately) never forget watching him dislocate his hip on a routine football run, ending everything in less than a second. Sadly, it would appear that if Bo knew what he does now about the long-term effects of football, he would have never played.
In a new interview with USA Today Sports he revealed this statement of hindsight,
“I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.”
In recent years that truth has become common knowledge. The topic has been hotly debated for God knows how many hours by sports media heads and fans alike, all wondering if America’s most popular sport might be facing its demise. But a new group of concerned individuals have a different interest in the conversation—their kids. Parents everywhere are wondering if football is still a safe option for their young ones.
It’s up to you to decide how much weight Bo Jackson’s words hold, but his position is now adamantly clear,
“The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today. Even though I love the sport, I’d smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football. I’d tell them, “Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.””
It’s hard not to trust someone who went through it. Let me know in the comments if you’d let your kids play football. You can find the full USA Today piece here, but it will require a paid subscription to read.