Quarterback Josh Rosen, Now an Arizona Cardinal, Is the NFL’s Only Open Atheist

Apr 27, 2018

By Hemant Mehta

Josh Rosen, a quarterback from UCLA, was selected 10th in the NFL Draft tonight, going to the Arizona Cardinals.

As far as I can tell, with Arian Foster and the “cheerfully agnostic” Chris Kluwe now retired and Pat Tillman no longer with us, this makes Rosen the only open atheist currently in the NFL.

In 2014, when Rosen was still a senior at a Catholic high school, FOX Sports’ Gabe Kapler noted that the UCLA recruit didn’t believe in God — an anomaly in the football world.

He attends a Catholic high school and is the son of a Quaker Christian mother and a Jewish father. Josh also professes to be an atheist. I asked his football coach, Jason Negro, about the impact of Rosen’s beliefs.

“We certainly welcome it. We’re not just a school for Catholic boys,” Negro said. “We are a Catholic school for all boys. Everyone’s common theme here is just be a good person. When you leave here do you represent your school and yourself well?”

Great athletes, independent of their religious leans, can find plenty of common ground. The clubhouses of our major sports remain overwhelmingly Christian, but we can all benefit from another’s traditions.

Kapler also mentioned that Rosen’s atheism could be a liability when it comes to endorsement deals since he might “scare off some companies who wish to align themselves with more vanilla, easily marketable athletes less likely to offend the religious population.”

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