Arian Foster Takes a Knee on Career after Taking a Knee for National Anthem

at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Arian Foster took a knee on the sidelines. Now he can take a seat on his couch.

Foster retired on Monday. Jay Ajayi rushing for 200+ yards in two straight games tends to affect a 30-year-old running back like that. So, apparently, does disrespecting the flag.

Last week, the Indianapolis Colts released cornerback Antonio Cromartie, the father of a dozen kids by eight different women who lectures America on its failings of the black community by refusing to rise for “The Star Spangled Banner” as he energetically rises for just about everything else. This week, Foster, who averaged just 2.5 yards per carry during his brief stop in Miami, called it quits (likely with encouragement). 

A handful of the 1,700 or so NFL players kneel for the national anthem. Now the league sees two fewer athletes who use the uniforms of their team to insult those who wore the uniform of their country. First the Colts cut Cromartie, then the Dolphins dispense with Foster…next the 49ers career-kill Kaepernick?

‘Tis the season for Halloween horror films. And it looks like in this slasher flick that rather than the teeanagers who decide to make out in a quiet but creepy place the grown men who take a knee on the national anthem disappear. There’s a red-white-and-blue Michael Myers hacking, slashing, and slicing veteran players who disrespect veterans.

Clearly Terricka Cason, transformed from football wife to football widow with a stroke of the pen, believes revenge motivated those who terminated her husband’s career. “One things for sure I know my husband was told Not to take a Knee and he went with his heart and he took one,” Cromartie’s wife says. “And that cost him his Job.”

Who made Cromartie and then Foster vanish from the NFL? Some tell themselves that their careers died of natural causes, casualties of age. Others believe the ghost of WWII tailgunner Chuck Bednarik decleated them into oblivion like he decleated Frank Gifford. Or maybe Tom Landry, bomber pilot on thirty missions over Europe, used the sharp side of his fedora to cut their careers short.

Like all good scare stories, we don’t know who did it and we don’t know who is next. Colin Kaepernick? Kenny Stills? Not many targets of the Freddy-Chuckie-Jason jingo remain. Seahawks defensive back Jeremy Lane and Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall refused to stand for the song earlier this season. Now they rise. Maybe they got the message that a gridiron grim reaper follows football players who disrespect the country that made them rich, provided them a free college education, applauded their every move, put their faces on television.

Lest one get too caught up in schadenfreude, remember that Arian Foster called for a boycott of “Caillou,” championed then abandoned veganism, marveled at the Toyota Tundra’s ability to drag the space shuttle, supported Ron Paul for president, lectured the preachy but brought-to-you-by-beer NFL for “selling poison on that high horse,” utilized the Namaste as an end-zone celebration, inked the “COEXIST” bumpersticker imagery as a tattoo on his arm, and led the league in rushing a season after entering it undrafted. The movie projected onto the screen in a much more vibrant and captivating way with this character in it.

“I’ve given a lot to this game and given up a lot for it,” the longtime Houston Texans backfield staple noted in a goodbye announcement. “But it has returned to me more than I could have ever asked for. Faceless gladiators have been shuffled in and out of this arena for decades and I’m proud to have taken part in that legacy…. I’m walking away with peace.”

Marion Crane didn’t get a farewell address after Norman Bates opened that shower curtain. Maybe Father Time rather than Captain America killed Arian Foster’s career, after all.