The supporters’ fleeting dreams of the bill becoming law this year were dashed when the governor of California declared he would not approve a proposed ban on tackle football for kids under the age of twelve.
I refuse to sign laws outlawing youth tackle football. Late on Tuesday, Newsom stated in a statement. Although I have serious concerns about the well-being and security of our young athletes, a complete ban is not the solution.
The Democratic assemblymember Kevin McCarty’s plan was forwarded to the state assembly floor by a legislative committee last week, paving the path for a vote before the end of the month.
However, even if the bill were to pass, there is little to no chance that it will become law this year due to Newsom’s vow, originally reported by Politico, not to sign it. Although lawmakers in California have the authority to overturn a veto, they haven’t done so in almost 40 years.
This year, the idea to outlaw child tackling football gained traction due to growing concerns about concussions and the popularity of flag football. Athletes would have had roughly three years of tackle football experience before starting high school.
If the plan had been implemented gradually until 2029 and allowed them to play flag football until the age of twelve. Supporters claim that would reduce kids’ exposure to brain damage, which research has shown rises with prolonged tackle football play.
However, the bill faced fierce resistance from students, coaches, and parents. Many people wore their football jerseys to a public meeting held in the California capitol last week, urging lawmakers to oppose the bill.
Governor Signed a Bill
Youth tackle football has been regulated in California according to a rule signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2021, which restricted teams to two full-contact practices per week, lasting no more than thirty minutes each, during the regular season. Coaches of youth tackle football were also required by law to receive training on concussions and other brain problems.
For the governor, who may run for president in 2024, however, the planned prohibition was a step too far. Currently serving his second term, Newsom is well-known around the country for his liberal policies, which include a 2035 ban on the sale of gas-powered vehicles.
He has, however, also stood as a stronghold against the most progressive policies of the Democratic legislature, as evidenced by his veto of a bill last year that would have decriminalized some hallucinogens and psychedelic mushrooms.
With four kids of their own, Newsom promised to collaborate with lawmakers to improve youth football safety while preserving the right of parents to choose the activities that are best for their kids.
We will confer with coaches, parents, community members, and specialists in sports medicine and health as part of that process to make sure California continues to set the best national standards for youth football safety, according to Newsom. That’s what we owe the countless Californian families that have embraced youth sports.
In a video message broadcast to X, on the social media platform, Ron White, the head of the California Youth Football Alliance, expressed gratitude to Newsom for his pledge not to sign the measure.
To make the California Young Football Act the most extensive young tackle football safety policy in the nation, White stated, we all look forward to working with you and the California legislative body.