There are few more iconic sports advertising campaigns than the famous ‘Bo Knows’ Nike campaign surrounding former Auburn tailback Bo Jackson. As it turns out though, one of the greatest athletes of his generation didn’t know everything when it came to the game of football.
Specifically that would be about head injuries that come from playing the sport. Speaking to USA Today this week, the man who earned appearances in both the MLB All-Star game and the NFL Pro Bowl expressed some regret over playing the latter in light of new information and warned that he would never let his kids play the game that made him one of the most famous athletes in the country:
“If I knew back then what I know now,’’ Jackson told USA TODAY Sports, “I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.
“The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today.
“Even though I love the sport, I’d smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football.”
Jackson has three children and won the Heisman Trophy back in 1985 with the Tigers. He was responsible for many memorable moments on the Plains (in multiple sports) and has appeared on the sidelines for several big Auburn games over the years.
While he’s not the only ex-athlete to comment on the impact of CTE in recent years, it’s a bit shocking to hear him say he would never play the sport if he’d known then what he knows now. While he doesn’t regret the way things played out in terms of his professional career getting cut short because of a hip injury, Jackson’s comments as a legendary college football player on not letting his kids play the game are sure to be discussed quite a bit in the future by parents, players and coaches.