Arian Foster

On this date in 1986, freethinking athlete Arian Isa Foster was born in Albuquerque, N.M., to Carl and Bernadette (Sizemore) Foster. His father signed with the NFL’s Denver Broncos but never played in the pros. His parents divorced when he was a high school sophomore and Foster moved with his father to San Diego. After graduation he enrolled at the University of Tennessee, where he was a three-year football starter at running back.

He told an ESPN writer in 2015 that “he was the only member of the team who did not identify as either Christian or Catholic, which made him a source of speculation and misconception” and that “his contrarian side sought out religious arguments with fundamentalist teammates.”

He signed after graduating with the NFL’s Houston Texans and played there from 2009-15, setting franchise records for rushing yards and touchdowns. Injuries, including a bulging spinal disc and a 2015 ruptured Achilles tendon, ended his career in 2016. He was known for his signature “Namaste bow” in the end zone after scoring a touchdown. He told the online site Well and Good in 2015 that the bow “best describes not myself, but the message I want to convey to my fans — I recognize the light in you. I want to be appreciative of the game and everyone watching.”

His father had convinced him to start practicing yoga, and for a time he chose a vegan diet, saying he could eat up to seven pounds of kale in one sitting. He invested in Health Warrior, the maker of chia seed superfood snacks, instead of endorsing products like pizza and Pepsi, as is the pro football norm. He joined a national campaign by the nonprofit group Openly Secular to increase awareness and acceptance of nonbelievers, especially in sports.

Foster’s first acting role was a cameo in CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0.” His feature film debut was in “Draft Day,” starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner in 2014. His podcast “Now What? with Arian Foster” debuted in 2017. He released his debut rap album “Flamingo & Koval” under the stage name Bobby Feeno in April 2018. His Arian Foster Family Foundation is committed to fighting childhood obesity, improving financial literacy and personal development of inner-city youth.

PHOTO: Guel photo (cropped) under CC 2.0.

Freedom From Religion Foundation