Costas would nix football for son

Bob Costas has become the latest person to speak out against the dangers of football, stating publicly that if he had a son, he wouldn’t let him on the field. And new youth football enrollment numbers seem to suggest that Costas isn’t the only person who shares that opinion.

The NBC broadcaster made the declaration during an appearance on Slate’s Hang Up and Listen podcast, telling the hosts that the sport’s benefits do not outweigh the risks.

“I’d tell them no,” Costas said when asked if he’d let his kid play. “I know that goes viral tomorrow. … I know many, many thoughtful people in football … who belie the stereotype that we think we’ve got coming out of the Dolphins locker room, very thoughtful people where football has shaped their lives in a positive way, so I’m not going to paint everyone with a broad brush.

“Maybe the better answer is: Be advised of the extreme dangers, know what you’re getting into. But let me put it this way: If it were my son and he was 13 years old and had reasonable athletic ability, I would encourage him to play baseball, or to play basketball or to play soccer or something other than football.”

Costas’ statement comes alongside a new report that Pop Warner participation is down 9.5 percent between 2010 and 2012. According to data provided to Outside the Lines, a record 248,899 played Pop Warner football in 2010, but that number fell to 225,287 by the 2012 season. Additionally, participation in USA Football dropped 6.7 percent in that same span.

Dr. Julian Bailes, Pop Warner’s chief medical officer, said the decline can be attributed mostly to the increase in awareness about head injuries.

"Unless we deal with these truths, we’re not going to get past the dropping popularity of the sport and people dropping out of the sport," Bailes told OTL. "We need to get it right."

Youth football isn’t going anywhere just because Costas is taking a stand against it, and I’m not sure that’s what Costas and others have in mind when they speak about the dangers of the sport. They’re just looking to find a safer way for kids to play, and as long as that remains the goal, it’s a crusade that’s tough to argue against.

Now, for some links:

• Andy Reid compared his skills at the buffet to Peyton Manning’s skills on the football field.

• Troy Tulowitzki is pledging $1 million to the baseball program at his alma mater.

• Jerry Rice says Calvin Johnson has a long way to go before he’s Jerry Rice.

• Jim Irsay has ideas for recently-released Ed Reed:

• It’s OK man, I know how you feel:

• Metta World Peace is not a fan of the league’s new delay of game rules.

• Dwight Howard doesn’t want to talk about his free throw shooting.

• My, Davey Johnson, those are some pants:

• Cavs sideline reporter takes basketball to the head, doesn’t miss a beat:

• A graphic designer reimagined all 32 NFL logos as soccer badges.

• Louisville is reportedly paying $11 million to get out of the American Athletic Conference.

• Brian Wilson will never be a Yankee because he won’t shave his beard.

• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is slightly taller than Georgie Thompson:

• Who would be on Michael Jordan’s ultimate pick-up team?:

• Jeremy Foley says he is sticking with Will Muschamp at Florida.

• The Lakers’ seven-year home sellout streak has come to an end.

• The Rays are putting lipstick on a pig and trying to pretty up Tropicana Field.

• Marcin Gortat tries, fails at Dream Shake:

• Ed Orgeron sent handwritten thank you notes to the USC band:

• SB Nation has a worthwhile feature on Minnesota D-lineman Ra’Shede Hageman’s road to success.

• The San Jose Sharks’ Tyler Kennedy on road trips: “You change time zones like you change underwear.”

• Fans can get free beer for going to watch Louisville women’s basketball.

• Thursday marks the 43rd anniversary of the Marshall football plane crash. They’ll be honoring the victims with special helmets when they play Tulsa:

• The Colombian national team pranked a teammate in his hotel room:

• In Russia you can do squats in exchange for a free ride on the subway: