The Real Reason Donald Trump Isn't A Fan Of Barron Playing Football

By now, former U.S. President Donald Trump's contentious history with the NFL has been well-documented. While many know that Trump publicly feuded with players like Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the National Anthem in protest of racial inequality, Trump's fractious relationship with the league can actually be traced back further. In 2014, he supposedly inflated his net worth in a bid to buy the Buffalo Bills, according to CNN Money. "I bid a billion dollars, all cash on the table. [Terrence Pegula] bought it for a billion-two, I believe, although they say it was a billion-four. I think he got it for a billion-two," Trump told Sports Illustrated at the time. Upon losing the bid, he took to Twitter to vent his outrage, writing (via CNN Money), "Even though I refused to pay a ridiculous price for the Buffalo Bills, I would have produced a winner. Now that won't happen."

In more recent years, Trump has railed against the NFL over the "take a knee" controversy, and encouraged his supporters to boycott, per The Washington Post. As of 2017, The New York Times also reported that he criticized the league for being "soft," and complained about the lack of big hits. Whichever way you spin it, Trump clearly has a score to settle. Is it any wonder then, that he's reluctant to encourage his son to play the sport?

Donald Trump thinks football is too dangerous for Barron

Though Donald and Melania Trump's son, Barron Trump, avoids the spotlight, plenty of people are still interested in the ex-president's youngest child. In 2018, Melania shared that Barron is "all into sports," according to Town & Country. But if Donald has any say in the matter, Barron won't be suiting up in pads to hit the gridiron anytime soon. Despite claiming that the NFL has become soft, Donald told CBS' "Face the Nation" in 2019 that he's not keen on Barron playing football because it's a "dangerous sport." 

"I just don't like the reports that I see coming out having to do with football," he said. "I mean, it's a dangerous sport and I think it's really tough. I thought the equipment would get better, and it has. The helmets have gotten far better, but it hasn't solved the problem."

Donald also referenced NFL players who have said they won't allow their sons to play the game due to risk of head trauma. "It's not totally unique, but I would have a hard time with it," he added. However, his concerns about safety fly in the face of former comments he's made about the NFL. For example, during a 2016 rally in Reno, Nevada, Donald complained about penalty flags, via The Washington Post. "Football has become soft like our country has become soft," he said.

What sport is Barron Trump playing instead of football?

So, with football off the table, what sport is Barron Trump turning to? According to Sportbible, the teen is into the kind of football you play with your feet, AKA soccer. In June, a fan posted footage to Twitter that showed Barron playing soccer, with the caption, "The new Peter Crouch ...???" (For the uninitiated, Crouch was a former English striker, who played for his country, as well as for clubs like Liverpool and Tottenham.)

Per Sportbible, Barron is a fan of current Premier League topper, Arsenal FC, and he's quite knowledgeable about soccer in general. During his father Donald Trump's administration, Barron took advantage of the many influential sports figures who came to the White House. This included D.C. United player Patrick Mullins, who praised Barron's interest in soccer. "[Barron] was very knowledgeable about soccer, knew about D.C. United and was interested to know more," Mullins said. In 2017, NBC Sports reported that Barron had signed with D.C. United's development academy, and was playing as a midfielder.

Donald is also aware of his son's love for the beautiful game. "[Barron] actually plays a lot of soccer. He's liking soccer," the former commander-in-chief told CBS' "Face the Nation." "And a lot of people, including me, thought soccer would probably never make it in this country, but it really is moving forward rapidly."

Research shows that football is a dangerous sport

Ultimately, it may be for the best that Donald Trump is eager to keep his son away from American football. In 2017, Donald criticized the NFL for passing new rules barring certain hits because he felt this detracted from the sport's entertainment value, via Business Insider. But there was a good reason behind the decision. Research shows that football players and boxers often suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), due to repetitive hits they take to the head. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease that can cause depression, impulse control problems, memory loss, and aggression, according to research from Boston University. The NFL only admitted the link between football and CTE as recently as 2016, per NBC News.

Still, Donald might not be able to ban Barron from the football field entirely. When asked during CBS' "Face the Nation" interview whether he would let his son play American football professionally, Donald replied, "If he wanted to? Yes. Would I steer him that way? No, I wouldn't." Sounds like for now at least, Barron isn't interested in the NFL, anyway.