President Obama sat down with CBS News’ Scott Pelley during a Super Bowl pre-game interview to discuss everything from football to taxes, a new tradition of sorts the for the television network hosting the big game each year.
Obama on Sunday shared his view that the Boy Scouts of America should lift its national sexual orientation restrictions, a topic up for vote for the organization’s board this coming week.
“My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everyone else does in every institution and walk in life,” Obama said.
By a similar token of extending rights, Obama said he approved Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s move last month in changing the military’s policy that prevented women from officially serving on the front lines or assuming high-ranking position.
“Women as a practical matter are now in combat,” Obama said. ”The truth is women are serving, they are taking great risks. What we should not do is somehow prevent them from advancing in an institution that we all revere.”
But when asked whether or not the risks linked to football, increasingly seen with brain disease and even Alzheimer’s due to game play concussions, were high enough to keep young children from the sport.
“It’s hard to say no to a kid when they’ve got a passion for something,” the president said, pointing out that neither one of his daughters shared much of that passion.
This has not been the first time that Obama has spoken candidly, questioning such an American pastime as football to highlight the potential danger the sport is having on players. Just last week in an interview with The New Republic, the president said if he had a son he’d “have to think long and hard” before letting him play football.
“I feel different about the NFL. These are grown men, they’re well compensated, they know the risks involved,” Obama told Pelley.
And the risks weren’t enough to keep the president from tuning in for Super Bowl Sunday.
“It’s going to be a great game,” Obama said, never specifying which team he was rooting for. “I’ve got some wings waiting for me upstairs.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version mistakenly characterized Obama’s statements on Sunday as the “first time” he had spoken out about the Scouts’ anti-gay policy.