Commentary

Scott: 'It's wanting more for your kids'

Jets linebacker has reiterated his stance on a pro football career for his son

Updated: June 1, 2012, 4:30 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

Bart Scott didn't realize he had sparked a fire when he said last week that he wouldn't want his son to play football in light of the kinds of injuries NFL players risk. But on Wednesday, at a Jets organized team activity, Scott reiterated that he wouldn't want his son to follow in his footsteps, especially if he wants to play pro sports.

Bart Scott
Rich Kane/Icon SMIBart Scott signed with the Jets for six years and $48 million in 2009.

"You don't want your kid to play baseball nowadays, you're stupid," Scott said. "You're giving away a quarter of a billion dollars."

Like Kurt Warner and other NFL players who have made similar statements, some fans took exception to a player criticizing the game he makes a living playing.

"I looked at some of the comments because somebody told me," Scott said, "'His kid's going to be fat. Why's he bashing the game?'"

Not surprisingly, Scott disagreed with those kinds of critiques, saying, "People are idiots. They say what they want to say. Half the people on there talking all that crap wasn't even capable of playing football. Couldn't scrap their way out of a box."

Scott said he wanted his son to do better than he has.

"We all want certain things for our kids," Scott said. "Why can't I want my kids to be president? Or a CEO? Or own a football team? Should want the best for your kids."

Scott then looked up at the reporters in a half circle around him.

"Do you want your kid to be a reporter?" Scott responded to the laughter. "That's what I thought."

Scott has seen firsthand the injuries players are subject to. Last season his locker was next to safety Eric Smith. Smith likely sustained at least two concussions in 2008, including a helmet-to-helmet collision with Anquan Boldin, then with the Cardinals. In other sports, Scott said, players aren't at risk for those kinds of injuries.

"It's a different type of injury," Scott said. "We're talking different types of injuries. We're not talking about head trauma in basketball, we're talking about bad backs, knees, stuff like that. We're not talking about nothing to do with the skull or anything like that. At the end of the day, whatever he wants to play I'm fine with. But if he has to get hurt, I'd rather him be hurt and have a bad ankle than a bad skull."

He said fans see the games, but not the rehabilitation and pain.

"They don't know," Scott said. "Like I said, they're sitting on their couch playing 'Madden.' They don't know. They have no idea."

Scott was raised by a single mother in Detroit, where he once had to handle business with a gang member trying to recruit him. Scott needed to get his SAT scores up before he could accept a football scholarship to Southern Illinois. Given the fruits of his NFL career, his children are less likely to face similar struggles.

"And it ain't about not wanting him to play. It's wanting more for your kid," Scott said. "Everybody doesn't have to be an athlete. I think everyone that doesn't play football isn't obese and fat. There's a lot of things you can do. I don't want him to box, either. I don't want him to be hit in the head or any of that stuff, either. Why would you want to see your kid blow his knee out or any of that stuff? I don't ever want to see my child get hurt."

And Scott has big dreams for his son.

"I want him to drop out of college and be like Dell," Scott said. "Start Dell computers or something. Drop out of school. All the real rich people drop out college."

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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