Arian Foster: Dick Vitale Apologizes For ‘Prostitute’ Tweet

Arian Foster admitted he took cash in college, and that didn’t go over well with Dick Vitale.

The ESPN college basketball analyst subsequently apologized for a tweet that compared the situation to prostitution.

In an upcoming documentary, Foster revealed that he took money under the table during his senior year at the University of Tennessee. The Houston Texans star running back highlighted the irony of playing before 100,000 fans and then going home and not having any food in his refrigerator. Foster is the second all-time rusher (2,964 yards) in Tennessee history. As an NFL player, Foster is a three-time Pro Bowler and was the 2010 NFL rushing leader.

Said Foster during an interview for the documentary Schooled: The Price of College Sports: “I don’t know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation — my senior year, I was getting money on the side. I really didn’t have any money. I had to either pay the rent or buy some food. I remember the feeling of like, ‘Man, be careful.’ But there’s nothing wrong with it. And you’re not going to convince me that there is something wrong with it… I’m a firm believer that an employee should get paid for his work.. And, 100 percent, I see student athletes as employees. Hiding from it is just cowardly.”

That big-time college sports programs are dirty when it comes to NCAA compliance should come as no surprise to anyone, given the number of scandals that have emerged involving so-called student-athletes. Whether NCAA rules make sense is of course an entirely other matter.

Upon hearing the Foster news, an admittedly upset Vitale took to Twitter yesterday to compare a college athlete who takes money to a prostitute. (It appears that the original tweet has been deleted but it read “When they put their hand out like a prostitute & take it they don’t say a word – moaning yrs later = SAD!”) Today, presumably after taking a lot of heat on social media, Dickie V tweeted out an apology for using the p-word.

ProFootball Talk notes there might be some hypocrisy in play: “While his choice of words may have been unwise, Vitale’s initial reaction was an interesting look at the way so many people within the college sports establishment view players making money. Vitale himself has become a multimillionaire thanks to college athletics, but it angers him when he hears about a player taking a little money… And when a player like Foster pulls back the curtain and reveals that ‘amateur’ athletics aren’t really about amateurism, sometimes those multimillionaires fear that their golden goose is being threatened.” Deadspin put the controversy in more stark terms: “If Foster is a prostitute, Vitale and his colleagues are the pimps… But is Dick Vitale a pimp? No. Dick Vitale is an old dude who still thinks college kids should play for the team, school and love for the game.”

Foster signed a five-year, $$43.5 million contract with the Texans last year.

Putting aside the Arian Foster/Dick Vitale issue, do you think college athletes should get paid?

[top image credit: AJ Guel]