Arian Foster, 28, has spent his entire public football career — in college at Tennessee, in the NFL with the Texans — in the Bible Belt. Playing in the sport that most closely aligns itself with religion, in which God and country are both industry and packaging, in which the pregame flyover blends with the postgame prayer, Foster does not believe in God.
“Everybody always says the same thing: You have to have faith,” he says. “That’s my whole thing: Faith isn’t enough for me. For people who are struggling with that, they’re nervous about telling their families or afraid of the backlash … man, don’t be afraid to be you. I was, for years.”
As a lifelong atheist who has never experienced any negativity for my own lack of belief in any supernatural power, I sometimes feel that the plight of the irreligious pales in comparison to other disadvantaged groups out there. But clearly NFL locker rooms are a different animal. We should all know that well having experienced the presence of the likes of Brian Dawkins and Tim Tebow on the 2011 Broncos.
The entire article is a longread, but I recommend taking the time if it piques your interest.