Yesterday, I did the first of what will be seventeen weekly shows with Texans running back, defending NFL rushing king, and Tweeter extraordinaire Arian Foster. To set the scene, this first show took place at an investor/sponsor party at the West University home of our network CEO David Gow. (NOTE: It will eventually take place at local restaurants and sports bars, to be announced soon.)
The show started off with the usual radio fare: the requisite questions about Foster's hamstring (He had just arrived from getting treatment and will practice this week), questions about the Colts game (good win, painful for him to watch), and general banter about his family.
In short, it was your typical first show between a host and a player who were working together for the first time.
Then something, completely atypical happened...
We got a phone call from Jim Brown, who is perhaps the greatest athlete of this or any generation, and who is cut from the same cloth as Foster insomuch as both guys see football as a platform to effect the greater good.
As it turns out, Brown is (not surprisingly) a hero of Foster, so at that point my job was to grease the skids for Brown to get comfortable with the show and then let the two of them talk, which is pretty much what I did.
The purpose of this post is to share the highlights and encourage you to take a listen to the entire podcast.
The two best parts of the ten-minute segment:
1. After Brown asked Foster if he and the Texans had come to an agreement on a new contract, Foster indicated that he was going to play this season out under his current deal and see where it goes from here, and Brown gave him this advice:
"Don't neglect the game. Don't neglect the game, because when it's all over and done, the money will be important, but the way you played the game will be what people will remember about you. So don't let anyone keep you out of the game, and always give your best....the politics are very difficult sometimes. Sometimes even your own union doesn't represent you properly. Sometimes these things can be discouraging. But if you play the game hard, and give it all you have at all times, then these things have a way of working out."
2. The interview closed with Foster asking a typical thought-provoking Foster question, wanting to know if Jim Brown were a 25-year-old man in the NFL and he could go back and talk to himself, what he would tell himself. Here's what Brown said:
"I would tell myself that I'm surrounded by a lot of people whose number-one interest is money. And I would tell myself that when I study history I find out that those old guys 'graduate'...and that some of those old guys are now the most important guys in dealing with the future of the young guys. So really I would say to myself, be educated, be aware, understand the history of the game, and then apply myself appropriately.
See, you have a union that has been sued by its own players. You have a union that talks about money with the owners, and then they tell you this "it's you versus the owners," but some owners are always in your corner. Some of the greatest advocates would be the Pittsburgh Steelers with Dan Rooney who works for African-American coaches to get jobs. People don't bring that up...you have to learn to understand and distinguish the good and the bad, not just group situations and following somebody's leadership who may not be leading you in the right direction.
So the bottom line is always educate yourself, always ask the questions, and always understand what's going on around you."
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Shortly thereafter, we said goodbye to Brown. We still had one short segment of the show left, to which Foster said to me,"We really have to do another segment? How do we top that?"
To which I said,"Yeah, you only have to do one segment, I still have to do two more hours!"
Miraculously, not only did Foster make it another three minutes, but I made it another two hours. But it didn't change the validity of Foster's questions -- how do we top that?
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3PM weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.