Add UCLA Quarterback Josh Rosen to the list of people who disagree with the term “student-athlete.”
In a wide ranging interview with Bleacher Report, the college junior opined on a wide range of topics. From indirectly disrespecting the University of Alabama’s enrollment requirements and restrictions by alluding they would lose players by raising the SAT standards, to explicitly stating he wants to rule the world, Rosen is the rare athlete at any level who speaks his mind, unabashedly.
“Football and school don’t go together. They just don’t,” said Rosen. “Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL. There’s no other way. Then there’s the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes and then the product on the field suffers.”
In one emphatic statement, the hopeful NFL product completely demolished the absurdity of the student athlete. Unless you played a Division 1 sport that brings in billions of dollars and pays coaches millions, you have no idea the pressure unfairly put on players who are expected to excel both on the field and in the classroom. For most, their day starts before sunrise and continues long into the evening. Even the section where he singles out Alabama is not a slight at the Crimson Tide but rather shines a light on entrance requirements. That on its own defaces the idea of student athlete when those who come to a university to play sports have different requirements than those who come here just to study.
There’s a “civil war” going on in the United States about paying student athletes. Rosen’s comments don’t fuel one side or the other as much as it exposes the honest truth. Something Rosen has never shied away from. The Southern California native posted on instagram over a year ago his feelings on then-candidate Donald Trump. Instagram was also the chosen site for Rosen’s comments on UCLA inking a $280 million contract with Under Armour.
Coming into this season, Mel Kiper has Rosen firmly as one of the top 10 prospects. When saddled with those types of expectations, there’s only one place to go, and that’s down. We’ve seen it happen recently with Matt Barkley and Matt Leinart, watching their draft stock free fall. Rosen is coming off a shoulder injury but says he’s at 100%.
Rosen’s antics off the field have done more than stir the pot. The various topics he has broached, has left more than a few scouts pondering the viability of the former 5-star recruit at the top level. Which is to say, how far will athletes push the envelope in the name of justice and equality? Is Colin Kaepernick the outlier? An ultra-talented player with a pedigree of winning who the NFL systematically eliminated from its collective roster for using the NFL stage as his personal social justice platform. Was it the way Kaeprnick presented his message? Did he embarrass the league and its owners? Or is Kaepernick the new norm for which Rosen should cautiously and calculatedly avoid. As Rosen, begins his third and possibly final year in college, we might find out the answers to all of it.
Y'all don't get mad at Josh Rosen for telling the truth
— THICC KEN (@edsbs) August 8, 2017