Newsom Shoots Down California Dems’ Plan To Ban Tackle Football For Kids Under 12
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 18: California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks onstage during the Clinton Global Initiative September 2023 Meeting at New York Hilton Midtown on September 18, 2023 in New York City.
Noam Galai/Getty Images for Clinton Global Initiative

Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) poured cold water on a Democratic proposal to ban full-contact football for children under 12 in California. 

Assembly Bill 734, which was introduced by California Democrat Kevin McCarty of Sacramento, passed an Assembly committee 5-2 last week and still has to be taken up by the full state Assembly and Senate. The bill would gradually ban tackle football for California youth, starting with kids under 6 in 2025, before moving to kids under 10 in 2027 and all children under 12 in 2029.

While the ban on tackle football for kids under 12 gained some traction among California Democrats, Newsom made it clear on Tuesday that he would not sign the bill if it made it to his desk, ABC 10 reported

“I will not sign legislation that bans youth tackle football,” Newsom said. “I am deeply concerned about the health and safety of our young athletes, but an outright ban is not the answer. My Administration will work with the Legislature and the bill’s author to strengthen safety in youth football — while ensuring parents have the freedom to decide which sports are most appropriate for their children.”

AB 734 is McCarty’s third attempt to pass a bill banning tackle football for the state’s youth.

The assemblyman has argued that “Banging your brains around for little kids just isn’t safe.” Assemblymember Mike Gipson, another California Democrat, also voted in support of the bill while it was in committee, arguing that it doesn’t take away from the good learning opportunities that football provides for the state’s youth.

“Football and organizational sports in general are clearly proven ways to keep kids out of trouble,” said Gipson, who chairs the state Assembly’s committee in charge of regulating sports. “This bill is not taking away that ability, it is simply saying that we’re going to move from tackle football to flag football and we can still have the same learning experiences.”

The proposal would seek to push kids toward flag football as an alternative to tackle football, but some parents and coaches criticized the ban, arguing that it would push the sport “in the wrong direction.” 


“We would lose the far, greater benefits that football provides to a limited risk, to injury,” said youth and high school football coach Tyrone Jones. 

Ashley Bertram, a mother of three boys, added that flag football could be more dangerous since players don’t wear the same protective gear as in full-contact football. 

“Flag football is still a contact sport,” Bertram said. “If you think that just because a 7-year-old boy is running up to take a flag, that they’re not ramming into each other to do that, you’re out of your mind! We’re talking about boys!”

In his statement announcing his stance on the ban on full-contact football for kids under 12, Newsom pointed to action he has already taken to push for more safety standards in youth football. 

“California remains committed to building on the California Youth Football Act, which I signed in 2019, establishing advanced safety standards for youth football,” Newsom said. “This law provides a comprehensive safety framework for young athletes, including equipment standards and restrictions on exposure to full-contact tackles.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Newsom Shoots Down California Dems’ Plan To Ban Tackle Football For Kids Under 12