Arian Foster: “After You Get Paid, Fans Don’t See Athletes As Humans Anymore” (Audio)
Houston Texans RB Arian Foster started the 2015 season injured and ended it the same way, injured and out for the season. Texans somehow made the playoffs despite that only to get blown out of the water by the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 30-0. Foster who had a breakout 2010 season when he rushed for 1,616 yards and then 1,224 and 1,424 yards over the next 2 years putting him as one of the best backs in the league.
After so many carries and crushing hits, his body eventually succumbed to many injuries missing many games over the next few years. Foster will be 30 before he hits next season and now more than ever he has come to grips with the fleeting nature of what it means to be a professional athlete playing a brutal sport.
“I watch zero football. I swear,” Foster told actor and sports fan Michael Rapoport on the I Am Rapaport podcast (via the Houston Chronicle). “Of course, I used to be a super fan growing up. Once you see the business side, you see it differently. I’m pondering entering the last couple, 3-4 years of my career and I’m thinking about what life will be like after football and I’m looking at the game differently. I look at it more like, ‘I hope these guys come out healthy because they’ve got families.’ It’s not just entertainment to me any more. I see the men and the humans behind it. It’s a vantage point that not a lot of people get to see. I still do enjoy the game. I love it, but it’s just hard for me to watch it from a fan perspective.”
Foster also spoke up on the double standards on how the public reacts to when a player demands a trade & when an owner/gm trades a player due to salary cap reasons.
“If an owner cuts a guy because of salary cap reasons or whatever, we’re like, ‘That’s a good business move,’ but if a guy wants a trade, and he’s publicly demanding a trade or he publicly does something where he wants to go to another team, he’s looked at as a bad person or a locker room rioter, he’s not a team person and it’s (bullcrap),” Foster said. “He’s doing what is best for him and his family. It’s a business move. People don’t think about that. They don’t look at you as a human anymore once you make a certain amount of money.”
Foster revisited a conversation he had back in 2014, when he said if the league truly was concerned about player safety, it would do away with Thursday night games.
“If they really gave a [crap] about us, they would not have Thursday night games,” Foster said. “It’s the worst. you don’t even practice [that week], all you do is have walk-throughs, because that’s all you can do. Physically, you can’t do anything else.
“I don’t want it to sound like I’m complaining. I’m not complaining, I love what I do. I’m very … I don’t want to say privileged because that’s disrespectful to the work I’ve put in and everybody else put in, but I’m just very grateful for the opportunity to play in the NFL.”
One of the funniest moments in the 83-minute podcast: when Foster talked about being an undrafted rookie with the Texans with $5,000 to his name. He decided to treat himself to a $37 dinner at Applebee’s, which prompted a call from a family friend, who also was serving as Foster’s business manager.
“I spent $37,” Foster said. “He called me, ‘Yo, what the [hell] is wrong with you, man.’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘You just spent $37 on Applebee’s. Who do you think you are?'”
“I still get these questions, ‘Are you vegan?’ I’m like, ‘That was four years ago,'” Foster said. “The media loves blood, so anything that’s new, they’ll attack it, so then you get all the baggage of that (vegan) stereotype. So, I tried it for six months, and four years later, I’m still asked questions if I’m a vegan.”