January 22, 2024
California lawmakers cleared their first hurdle to ban tackle football for kids under 12 years old earlier this month, and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski isn’t upset about it.
The Assembly committee that regulates sports in the state of California voted 5-2 to send the bill to the full chamber, which is essentially just the second of four barriers the bill must get through. If the full chamber approves of it, it then moves on to the Senate before Gov. Gavin Newsom has the final say.
While the proposed law is still very much in its infancy stage, Gronkowski has given his vote of approve to see tackle football banned for preteens in the state.
“I think it’s a fair proposal, and I’m for it,” Gronkowski told Fox Business Network. “I love the game of football, and I love that these kids want to play the game of football. But to play the game of football at such a young age, I think, is a little dangerous.”
Gronk went on to promote flag football for kids under 12.
“What I would propose and what I think should be marketed out there more is flag football. These kids should be playing flag football. You can still garner the attention of the game of football. You can still also learn the game of football. You can also develop your skills in the game of football through flag football,” he continued.
“Flag football is fun to play. I loved playing flag when I was growing up. To have flag football for kids under 12, I think, is an excellent idea, and I think they shouldn’t be playing tackle football or the real game of football until about seventh grade.”
Gavin Newsom Doesn’t Support Banning Youth Tackle Football
Gronkowski may be on board with the idea of banning tackle football among the youth in California, but the man who would have the final say surprisingly isn’t.
The uber-progressive left-wing Governor Newsom has already stated that he will veto the bill if it ends up on his desk for final approval.
“I will not sign legislation that bans youth tackle football,” Newsom said earlier this month. “I am deeply concerned about the health and safety of our young athletes, but an outright ban is not the answer.”
California state law does ban full-contact practices for high school and youth football teams during the offseason and limits teams to two practices per week during both the preseason and regular season.
According to the AP, the ban, if passed, would be gradually phased in, prohibiting children under six from playing tackle football beginning in 2025, under 10 in 2027 and those under 12 in 2029.