Why Justin Timberlake Says His Son Will ‘Never Play Football’

Count Justin Timberlake among the parents who have reservations about letting their children play football.

The pop singer, who is headlining this Sunday’s Super Bowl LII halftime show, told reporters this week that they should not expect his 2-year-old son Silas to ever suit up for a football game. At an NFL press event, a reporter asked Timberlake—who had just jokingly offered to take the field on Sunday as a wide receiver for the New England Patriots—whether or not he would be supportive if his son wanted a career in the NFL.

“Uh, he will never play football. No, no,” Timberlake said.

The singer-actor then laughed before expanding on that shut-down response. “It’s kind of like that thing where my main objective is that he become a great person,” Timberlake clarified. “And, if he wants to get into the arts or sports, then yeah, I would fully support that. I think I can hopefully offer him some advice on what to do and what not to do . . . but right now we’re working on our manners. That’s a big deal in our house right now.” Actress Jessica Biel is Timberlake’s wife and Silas’ mother.

It’s possible that Timberlake decided to soften his approach a bit after remembering that he was answering questions at an NFL-sponsored event a few days before taking the stage for a Super Bowl halftime show. Either way, his comments follow a trend of famous figures—from entertainers to sports figures—taking a hard stance against their children playing football at any level, especially in light of the revelations about long-term effects from football concussions that have surfaced in recent years. Former President Barack Obama said five years ago that, if he had a son, he would not want him playing pro football, while legendary athlete Bo Jackson said last year “there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today.”

Super Bowl LII will air on Sunday, Feb. 4 on NBC, with the matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots kicking off at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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