Josh Rosen, the new QB of the Arizona Cardinals, is not for everybody.
Some people think he’s full of himself and should just stick to throwing touchdown passes instead of doing all the stuff featured below. Around the NFL Draft, when you hear people speak negatively about Rosen, the person, here’s what they’ll be talking about. You can judge for yourself if anything is all that bad.
October 2015: He has a hot tub in his dorm.
He was living the dream:
In an interview weeks before the draft, Rosen told ESPN’s Sam Alipour he regretted having a woman in the hot tub with him in that picture.
“I enjoy making people laugh, but what I find funny and put online, others might misconstrue and find jerkish. I need to refine my message but not lose who I am,” he said.
April 2016: He wears a “Fuck Trump” hat to a Trump golf course and posts a picture of it on Instagram.
President Donald Trump has never said anything vulgar in his life, much less done anything vulgar. So a lot of his supporters (plus a bunch of other people who don’t like it when athletes say anything remotely political) didn’t appreciate Rosen’s choice of headgear. It looked like this:
The picture was geotagged at a Trump golf course in California. Rosen deleted it many months later. His UCLA coach, Jim Mora, wasn’t happy about the post.
Rosen told ESPN the thing he regrets about all of this is his use of the F-word, because “I’m a role model for kids.”
May 2016: After UCLA signs a record-breaking apparel deal with Under Armour, Rosen rips NCAA amateurism rules.
In that ESPN interview years later, Rosen called his post “shitty.”
August 2017: Rosen makes another point about NCAA amateurism rules, and people think he’s calling a bunch of Alabama players dumb.
In an interview with Bleacher Report, Rosen gave this quote:
Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. 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.
But some focused on this small portion of that quote ...
... raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have.
... which sounds, out of context, like Rosen saying Alabama’s players aren’t smart enough to meet the NCAA’s academic benchmarks for football eligibility.
Rosen was making a broad and correct point about the sometimes overwhelming demands major college football puts on players as both athletes and students. He used Alabama to make the point, because Alabama is the best team in the sport. It’s probably true that Alabama would get worse if the NCAA disqualified more of its players, and then the best on-field product in college football would be less than it is now.
December 2017: Rosen skips a bowl game to focus on his health.
There was nothing serious at stake in UCLA’s Cactus Bowl appearance against Kansas State. The Bruins’ team doctors had diagnosed him with concussion symptoms, and Rosen was about to declare for the draft following his junior season. So, he didn’t play, and he explained why we shouldn’t criticize college players for making that choice:
“A lot of people bash them, but some of them have to realize that some of these guys have families,” Rosen told reporters. “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.”
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.
There are people who think it’s selfish whenever a college player decides not to play in a meaningless bowl game to protect his professional career. That’s one opinion! Another is that players shouldn’t risk injury for no money.
April 2018: Rosen wants to win more Super Bowls than Tom Brady.
What are your football goals?
I want to be great — in everything I do. As far as football, I always looked up to Kellen Moore of Boise State. I thought it was the coolest thing that he was the winningest QB of all time. I thought that was a cool word: winningest. So I want to be the winningest QB in NFL history. I want to win the most games and most championships. I’d say six titles, but if Tom Brady gets six, I’ll say seven
It’s not clear what could possibly be bad about a quarterback wanting to win more Super Bowls than anyone else, but whatever. A few people thought Rosen was being arrogant.
(Even in an interview where Rosen spoke reflectively about how he’d drawn headlines for his commentary in the past, he made new news for a different bit of commentary.)
Draft night: Rosen gives this heater of a quote:
Josh Rosen on being drafted 10th: “There were nine mistakes ahead of me.”— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) April 27, 2018
We can get ahead of the response here and add it to the list.
All throughout his career: Rosen is a big-time recruit from a wealthy family, and he has a head coach who sometimes struggles to describe him clearly.
Rosen was the consensus No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the class of 2015. He was a huge name, laying the groundwork for him to be talked about as an obnoxious golden boy throughout his college career.
Rosen is from a well-off household. His dad is a spinal surgeon, his mom a former sports magazine editor, and both were ice dancers. Rosen has been pretty up-front about his advantages in life, but some don’t like it when he speaks up about inequality — a crucial, defining theme in any discussion about the NCAA model.
“I come from a wealthy, affluent, educated family,” Rosen told Sports Illustrated. “I mean, not like get-a-Lambo-for-my-16th-birthday- wealthy, but like, affluent.”
His background has, to some, made his amateurism comments sound shallow.
Also, Rosen’s college coach, Jim Mora, has been a pretty iffy advocate for him. Mora was hard on Rosen in public after many of the events you’ve just read about, and he weirdly said before the draft he’d take USC’s Sam Darnold, not Rosen, with the first overall pick. Mora also makes it sound like Rosen having his own thoughts is a bad thing:
“He needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored. He’s a millennial. He wants to know why. Millennials, once they know why, they’re good. Josh has a lot of interests in life. If you can hold his concentration level and focus only on football for a few years, he will set the world on fire. He has so much ability, and he’s a really good kid.”
But Mora did appear to mean all of this as complimentary toward Rosen.
Rosen’s not afraid to put himself out there, and some people don’t like that.
But nothing on this list is as bad as his detractors will lead you to believe.