Lester Holt Interviews President Biden About Covid, NFL Hiring Practices and Rams-Bengals for Super Bowl Sunday

By A.J. Katz 

The 2022 Super Bowl Sunday interview was the first for NBC News’ Lester Holt and second for President Joe Biden. It also represented Biden’s first television interview of the year.

The pre-Super Bowl sit-down was taped on Thursday and NBC has been broadcasting bits and pieces of it leading up to the game, including on NBC Nightly News and across NBC News social and streaming platforms. The portions previously made public focused on Pres. Biden’s thoughts about the coronavirus, inflation, the Afghanistan withdrawal and potential supreme court nominees. However, the five-minute portion that aired beginning at 3:15 p.m. ET on Super Bowl Sunday focused on Covid, NFL hiring practices and, of course, Rams-Bengals.

Holt: You were interviewed a year ago about the Super Bowl, and you expressed hope that come this year they would be able to fill the stands again with people. And that apparently is going to be the case. However, many of those people won’t be wearing masks despite the local law in Los Angeles. What is your message to people who want desperately for this to be over and to be able to resume the lives that they remember?


Biden: Well, look, I love how people talk about personal freedom. If you’re exercising personal freedom, put someone else in jeopardy, their health in jeopardy, I don’t consider that being freedom. It’s about moving in the direction you know is likely to diminish the prospects this virus continues to spread. and so I think people should get the shots. We know the shots work. We know they work for the variants that are available that we are dealing with now. We know we have so many more tools at our disposal to prevent death and to prevent serious illness and I just think they should be careful. If they’re not careful for themselves, at least think of their children, their families.

Holt:  Once again, the super bowl, another controversy over the NFL. This being about alleged racial hiring practices. Do you think the NFL, because of its broad influence, should be held to a higher standard when it comes to issues like this?

Biden: Well, I think it should be held to a reasonable standard. The commissioner pointed out, they haven’t lived up to what they committed to. They haven’t lived up to being open about hiring more minorities to run teams and, whether or not [NFL commissioner Roger] Goodell says they’re going to take a look at it, whether they can meet the standard and the standard was set by someone who said, ‘this is something we should do’. Think about it, the whole idea that a league that is made up of so many athletes of color as well as so diverse, that there’s not enough African-American qualified coaches to manage these NFL teams—it just seems like a standard that they’d want to live up to. It’s not a requirement of law, it’s a requirement of decency.

Holt: Cincinnati or Los Angeles?

Biden: My teams are out [of Super Bowl contention] and I love this young quarterback from Cincinnati. He’s an Ohio boy who can make everybody happy. But, I think Los Angeles is going to be hard to beat.

Super Bowl 56, featuring the Los Angeles Rams against the Cincinnati Bengals, kicks off from Inglewood, Calif. at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock and Telemundo.