UCLA junior quarterback Josh Rosen might not play in his team’s Cactus Bowl game against Kansas State on Tuesday, because of a concussion risk. But Rosen has tried to give it a go for that game, which might be his last before leaving for the NFL. It also might not be, because Rosen reportedly doesn’t want to get drafted by the Browns.
At a media event before UCLA’s bowl, Rosen fielded a question about players who have decided not to play in bowls as they turn their attention toward the NFL.
Rosen’s answer is here, and transcribed in full if you scroll down a bit:
Today UCLA QB Josh Rosen said he would look at the NFL after the bowl game and when asked about what makes him want to play in the @Cactus_Bowl when other high profile players have skipped bowl games... he had this great answer. #UCLA #CactusBowl pic.twitter.com/fArs2leCix— Chris Lilly (@wibwChrisLilly) December 24, 2017
A couple of elite players in the 2017 NFL draft class skipped bowls a year ago, most notably LSU and Stanford running backs Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey. Several more are doing it this year, including Florida State safety Derwin James and Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams. People seem to have gotten used to it.
Rosen urges media members and others to not default to assuming greed on the players’ part, or that they don’t care about their college teammates.
“A lot of people bash them, but some of them have to realize that some of these guys have families,” Rosen says. “Some of these guys have kids. Some of these guys really have to support the people around them. Some of them may be put in unfortunate circumstances where they can’t afford to be in school another year.”
Rosen notes that his quarterback position is less physical, in general, than positions like running back and safety, and he asks for understanding of players who sit out.
Rosen is outspoken about social justice issues. In the last few years, he’s:
- Worn a “FUCK TRUMP” hat to one of then-candidate Donald Trump’s golf courses, then Instagrammed a picture of himself doing that:
- Used Alabama’s football team as a case in point to criticize the NCAA’s whole model, which demands the world of athletes as both students and players.
- Pointed out the inherent contradictions in UCLA players not getting paid, right as the school was announcing a $280 million, record-shattering apparel deal with Under Armour: “Gotta love non-profits #NCAA.”
Rosen sometimes gets into hot water for quotes that get taken out of context. He gives some of the more detailed and thoughtful answers to questions of any player in college football. He also speaks his mind. This is an example of all of that.
A full transcript of Rosen’s remarks in that video above, starting with a joke:
Maybe I like my team more than some other guys. I think it’s unfair with the Christian McCaffreys and the Leonard Fournettes, and maybe with Derwin (James) and some guys, because they play really physical positions. For them, it’s not an issue of if they’re getting hurt, it’s an issue of how severe. Because most of those guys get banged up to some extent every single game. Quarterback’s unique. We’ll take a few licks here and there, but nothing like the beating those guys take.
A lot of people bash them, but some of them have to realize that some of these guys have families. Some of these guys have kids. Some of these guys really have to support the people around them. Some of them may be put in unfortunate circumstances where they can’t afford to be in school another year.
They might want to, and people in the media might not give them that shot that there’s part of them that may want to be in college, that may want to play in this bowl game, but if they feel like they’ve locked in their future and need to take care of their kid or families, sisters, brothers, whatever, then I think people should really look into their story and see how football is affecting their life.
I’m in a fortunate circumstance, where I play a not-as-physical position, and it’s just every single situation is unique. I don’t think you can lump them all together. I don’t think you can call it a trend that people are starting to miss bowl games. I think players are just realizing they have a lot of power and they don’t need to be exploited when it’s to their detriment.
I think people just need to look more into of each of these people’s stories and understand the entirety of the situation, and not just kind of lump them all together as the selfish college football player that just wants to make money.