Two months ago, NFL star Arian Foster (a four-time Pro Bowler) told ESPN The Magazine‘s Tim Keown that he didn’t believe in a Higher Power:
It wasn’t a shock to those of us who, years ago, read about how he planned to teach his daughter about the Flying Spaghetti Monster and often tweeted things you wouldn’t expect from a religious individual. But he had never come right out as non-religious until that moment.
My name is Arian Foster, and I am openly secular.
I hope my… if my religious friends and fans see this video, I hope that they react with the same decency and kindness that their creator would. You know, I’ve studied religion like no other. Like, I’ve been in churches, I’ve been in mosques, I’ve prayed with people. I understand the Bible, I understand the Qur’an, and I understand a lot of the tenets of religion and their core message is peace and love.
You know, if you’re in the public eye, it’s affecting sales, it’s affecting business. People want to support their religion, so if they have the choice to buy this guy’s jersey or this guy’s jersey, they’re going to side with the guy that believes in Jesus. And it’s like, I understand that, I get that. And when you’re in the system and when you’re in collegiate system and you’re in professional early on, like, you take all that into account, so you don’t want to ruffle any feathers. But I think I’m at the point in my career now where none of that really bothers me, and I understand who I am as a person, and I believe that means more to me than the extra dollar.
Foster is now back on the field for the Houston Texans after an injury sidelined him for the first weeks of the season. And on Friday, ESPN’s investigative show Outside the Lines will devote an entire episode to his godlessness. The show will discuss his religious views, then follow it up with a panel discussion. It’s not clear if Foster will be participating in any of this, but I hope ESPN has the good sense to include atheists in the discussion.
The episode of Outside the Lines will air on Friday at 1:30p (ET) (and a repeat will be shown on ESPN2 on Sunday at 9:00a).