Arian Foster does not believe in God.

That is his right. That is his choice.

But it’s a right and choice that professional athletes rarely express, especially athletes who play in cities as religious as Houston.

How is the city reacting to Foster’s beliefs?

“Well, first of all, Bob McNair, the owner, is deeply religious,” Houston Chronicle NFL columnist John McClain said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “He doesn’t hit you over the head with it, but he can recite the bible if you ask him, and I know – I’ll guarantee you without asking him – that Bob McNair is upset that he would come out and say it.”

Foster’s religious beliefs, however, were apparently common knowledge – at least in the locker room.

“The players say they’ve known it for awhile,” McClain said. “I’ve never heard that. Part of the story in there was when they do their prayer beforehand, he’s got his back to them, facing the locker, listening to music. Now, Arian always plays hard. That’s all you can ask of a player. He’s been a great runner. The problem is, Arian likes to be different and he talks about that. (He’s) kind of a renegade, a Renaissance man. He’s one of those guys that thinks he’s smarter than he is. He doesn’t like the Houston media. He says we’re mundane (and that) we ask boring questions. Then I watch him do national interviews and they ask the same questions – but he likes them because they’re national.”

Fortunately or unfortunately for Foster, he won’t be talking to any media – Houston or otherwise – any time soon. He’s having groin surgery Friday and will be placed on the short-term IR.

“He doesn’t have to talk to us once he goes on short-term IR until he comes off,” McClain said. “I’m sure we’ll see him in the national media, but he’s getting, as you can imagine, beat up bad by people in Houston. (In) the South, there’s a church on every corner. I just think the timing of it is really stupid. He should have waited until his career is over.”

Foster, who turns 29 this month, has missed 11 games over the past two seasons. Is it possible that his religious beliefs could affect his employment?

“No, I think what’s going to affect his employment is if he keeps getting hurt,” McClain said. “He’s got one more year left on his contract. I think if he doesn’t come back the second half of the year and play great, he may never come back because somebody could emerge – like Alfred Blue, his back up. They could get somebody else. If you’re going to be outspoken and you’re going to say things like that, you better be healthy and you better be playing. When he did the interview, he was healthy. When it came out, he was supposed to be healthy. We were supposed to talk to him here, and the timing would have been just right for that interview. Maybe he was going to use this as a platform to promote that organization that promotes no belief in God. But now he’s undergoing surgery.”


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