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Former New York Giants Center Shaun O’Hara Says President Obama’s Comment was “Irresponsible”

January 30th, 2013 at 5:06 PM
By Paul Tierney

Shaun O'Hara was a three time Pro Bowler for the New York Giants and was an instrumental aspect of protecting Eli Manning during the team's 2007 Super Bowl run. During his time in Blue, O'Hara was  was  the Giants team representative to the players union, a role that he took great pride in. Overall, O'Hara was a prominent, outspoken member of the Giants throughout his seven year career with Big Blue. He's currently an analyst  for NFL network, which has provided him a platform to give his opinion on a variety of issues.

'Shaun O'Hara' photo (c) 2006, Alexa - license:

Today, O'Hara voiced his rather strong opinion on President Obama's comments regarding player safety. Obama recently told  the New Republic that he would have reservations about whether he would allow his own son (if he had one) to play football. O'Hara believes that the President's comments were misguided.

"I guess my knee-jerk reaction is, to me, that's an irresponsible statement by the president," said former New York Giants center Shaun O'Hara. "I know he's not the first one to say it, but being the president, I think he could be more responsible than that." 

O'Hara later continued to say that he would encourage his own son to play football.

"If my son wanted to play football, I would absolutely let him. I would drive him," O'Hara said. "But I would teach him, because it's just like anything. You wouldn't give your son a circular saw and let him go and start whittling wood. You would teach him how to use that. So my issue is, when I hear parents say, 'I don't want him to play football,' well, it's because you don't want to take the time to teach him how to do it right. Or you don't know how to teach him right. So that to me is a big sticking point. When I see kids that want to play football, I just want them to learn it the right way. We need to make sure our coaches are teaching our kids the right way to do things."

There is a lot of truth to the point O'Hara is trying to convey. As the NFL continues to grow it's brand and gathers larger audiences, there is going to be a bigger microscope on player safety now than ever before. Every time a player leads with his head to make a tackle, kids are going to be watching. Every time a player makes a horse collar tackle, kids are going to be watching. Every time an offensive linemen chop blocks an unsuspecting defender, kids are going to be watching and they will take what they see on Sunday's as an example of how to play the game themselves.

It's important that players receive proper coaching at the youth levels, so by the time they make it to the NFL ranks, they have been trained to protect themselves throughout the course of the game. Obviously, football is a physically demanding sport that is going to result in some injuries. No matter what level a player is competing at, that's a risk that he must be willing to take. However, it's on the parents and coaches to help minimize that risk.


Tags: Eli Manning, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Shaun O'Hara, Super Bowl

34 Responses to “Former New York Giants Center Shaun O’Hara Says President Obama’s Comment was “Irresponsible””

  1. Dan BentonDan Benton says:

    Let’s see how long this can stay civil.

  2.  GOAT56 says:


    GOAT56 says:
    January 30, 2013 at 4:22 PM
    Krow your missing my point. I think it’s a myth JR drafts BPA. I think he drafts BPA at position of need with only JPP being the exception. With Ross and TT becoming free agents Prince was more of a need pick last year than many realized at the time.

    I’m saying for our team you pass LT for Champ Bailey. While Champ Bailey isn’t as good of player as LT, he’s still a great player at position of need. While we need more high level players we have some pressing needs that need to be addressed.

    Krow says:
    January 30, 2013 at 4:25 PM
    So the answer is yes, you wouldn’t take LT. Guess we’re not going to agree on that one.

    But there’s one thing we can all agree on … KC !!!

    kujo says:
    January 30, 2013 at 4:51 PM
    You’re asking if he would take a specific player, whose career you definitely know the result of, or some nonspecific “other guy”? Isn’t that sort of a fallacy?

    Lay of the kettle chips, bro. Even if they’re the jalepeno flavored ones, which are far superior to the regular or salt and pepper ones.

    shmitty013 says:
    January 30, 2013 at 4:47 PM
    JR drafts BPA, but need positions are weighted more. So say every player can get a ranking 1 – 100 based on their ability and addition 0 – 10 points based on the team’s need at that player’s position. Now say the Giants are up this year and for the sake of argument, Johnathan Banks and Corradelle Patterson are both on the board. Now based on ability, Patterson grades higher than Banks. Let’s say Banks is an 87 on the team’s board while Patterson is a 91. But Banks plays a position of considerable need, CB, while Patterson is a WR, a much less significant need. So Banks gets an addition 7 points while Patterson only gets 2 points. For the Giants, Banks real grade turns out to be a 94 while Patterson is a 93. The Giants end up drafting Banks. This is just my opinion, but I think it makes the most sense.

    shmitty013 says:
    January 30, 2013 at 4:49 PM


    •  GOAT56 says:

      Krow maybe I didn’t do the best job of explaining but shmitty response is exactly what I mean. While it’s possible you are right a player like JPP was only drafted because his grade was just that much higher than a player at a position of need. I doubt that happens this year considering the several positions of need we have.

      •  Krow says:

        I’m still taking LT.

        •  GOAT56 says:

          But you wouldn’t be taking a proven player. It’s an educated guess. That’s why at 19th JPP is a much better comparision.

          •  Krow says:

            Whatever. You said you wouldn’t take arguably the best player in Giants history. I’m saying that’s a bad idea. Guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  3.  shmitty013 says:


    Matt Miller ?@nfldraftscout
    #Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker won’t make it past pick No. 20, per a source

    Makes sense considering the Bears pick right after us at 20 and they’re OL is atrocious. But there’s probably a couple good OL they can draft there because they pretty much need improvements across the board. So it makes you think that other teams are probably interested in him as well. Something to think about since we’re at pick 19.

  4. Dan BentonDan Benton says:

    Those asking about Steelman:

    From what I understand, he needs to do 4 years active and 2 years reserve. Aviators do 6 years active.

    He can get a special waiver, but the Army would still want 2 years active from him.

  5.  kujo says:

    Did Marx have an opinion on American football?

  6.  playtherookies says:

    No way that we get Cordarelle at 19, especially with new wr coach at Dallas being the former coach at Tennessee. Giants need to do all possible to keep Dallas from getting patterson. Dallas might follow the Atlanta falcons strategy in a dome. Even if it means trading up to get him at 15-17, I say do it and so what if we lose some back end picks. We dont need 8 or 9 draft picks. Id be happy with 3/4 solid starters to come out this draft. With Bryant and Patterson, might put 40 points a game on our defense. The new the new nfl rules are set up and with the new agreements, this league is an entertainment business and fantasy points. Giants need to figure out how they can put 40 points on anybody, anytime. Even with a softer schedule next year, giants may only win 10-11 games and have to travel to places like Atlanta and New Orleans, or even Dallas and points are what matters. Free agency to shore up the line and a draft pick or 2 and we need more home run hitters and if we can put 40 points or more like we did in the last game then I am more confident. Even if we have a bunch of awesome defensive players, I am not confident in Perry Fewell. I am more confident in Eli Manning puttin up 40 pts a game than I am that Perry Fewell can limit Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, Seattle etc from scoring 30-35 pts a game.

    •  shmitty013 says:

      If that’s in reference to me, it was simply a hypothetical situation to explain how JR operates when drafting players.

      •  playtherookies says:

        @shmiity013. Im with you. Im just a big fan of Patterson. Hes a cross between reggie bush, roddy white and hakeem nicks, gonna be a stud and w more experience a top 10 pick if not top 5. Im hoping he gets caught smoking weed or gets arrested for pissing in public or something stupid so he falls to us in round 1 or 2.

    •  GmenMania says:

      There’s no way we are drafting Cordarrelle Patterson. WR is probably the only position besides QB that we are most set at. JR doesn’t trade up, and he certainly won’t for a WR. And Patterson won’t be there when we pick. Patterson will also probably be gone by the time Dallas picks, probably to the Dolphins.

      •  playtherookies says:

        @gmenmania Im ok with him going to the dolphins. But they are the same dolphins who drafted Jake Long over Matt Ryan. I dont want him anywhere in our divison though if not on the giants. And especially the cowboys. Laugh all you want. Patterson and Bryant make them a 10-11 win team and we dont have the defensive coordinator that can stop a wr tandem like that. See Atlanta Falcons game as example. And if you are the giants why wouldnt you draft the best wr as back pocket insurance incase nicks or cruz leave or get hurt. Wr may seem like a position of strength today but things change fast.

  7.  fanfor55years says:

    O’Hara’s probably right, but Obama’s a basketball guy anyway. What does he know?

    Although the President might want to try wearing a helmet if he goes up to Capital Hill to negotiate on the budget and the deficit issues. That will be full-contact sport.

  8.  Krow says:

    No Kettle Chips for O’hara.

  9.  GOAT56 says:

    The truth is Obama’s comment isn’t political. I understand given who Obama is his comments will be taken as such but this is how many parents feel. Several current and former NFL players have expressed similar concerns. However, O’hara is not wrong either. This is a very personal parenting discission that’s is understandable either way.

    •  Hanshi says:

      Anything any president says is political whether he wants it to be or not. Even if he’s speaking as a parent, he’s the president and his words carry the weight of the presidency.

    •  Krow says:

      It’s one thing to say you disagree with someone. Quite another to say that person behaved irresponsibly. That’s a character attack … and when leveled against a politician then it’s political by fiat. This is where O’hara crossed the line.

      •  Hanshi says:

        I’m not an Obama guy in any way but whether he’s speaking as a president or a parent, it’s his opinion and he’s entitled to voice his opinion. I for one disagree with his opinion and so does O’hara but all three of us have every right to voice our opinion. It’s still a great freedom in this country to freely disagree with our politicians on anything and everything. And Obama has the same freedom to disagree with O’hara too.

        •  Krow says:

          Agree 100%. But there’s disagreement … as ‘I think the President is wrong in what he said’ … and personal attack … as in ‘the President’s statement was irresponsible’.

          It’s really two different things. One impugns the statement … the other impugns the man.

          •  Hanshi says:

            I didn’t hear O’hara’s comments so I didn’t hear the tone in his voice but it doesn’t read as a personal attack to me. In any case, I’m sure Obama can handle it. Any president has to be use to attacks. But you and I are cool and we both can disagree without being disagreeable.

      •  Hanshi says:

        I kind of have to agree with O’hara in that Obama seemed that he could speak as a parent but he always speaks as the president and he can’t forget that his words carry that weight. It would be irresponsible for him to believe otherwise.

        •  Krow says:

          What parent doesn’t have some reservations about a child playing any sport with a significant chance of injury? To do otherwise could be considered irresponsible. If fact if you examine both statements they’re pretty much the same. The President says he’d have reservations … O’hara says he’d let his son play, but would make sure he was taught the safe way. That means he has reservations too.

  10.  G-MenFan says:

    It’s not for pu$$iez.

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