Suffice it to say, this wasn't how Cade Foster saw his final Iron Bowl going.
Sure, the biggest play of Alabama's 2013 season came on a field-goal attempt from an impossible length. Fifty-seven yards for a chance at Crimson Tide immortality and a victory over rival Auburn. There was just one second remaining on the clock. The Alabama kicker held a possible three-peat on his right leg. It was frankly every kicker's dream scenario.
Only Foster wasn't the kicker.
Nick Saban had pulled him after a nightmarish evening of missing three field goals and passed over for a fourth-down conversion attempt on another. With Alabama and Auburn tied at 28-28, Saban sent out the seldom-used freshman Adam Griffith to kick the game-winner.
I'm sure you all know how that played out. Auburn defensive back Chris Davis returned Griffith's short kick more than 100 yards, giving the Tigers a 34-28 upset of No. 1 Alabama and likely ending the Tide's bid for a third straight national championship.
It was one of the greatest endings in college football history, but it could not obscure the fact that the senior was benched in favor of the freshman.
Nights like Foster's bring up perhaps the murkiest subject when discussing collegiate sports: How much can you criticize a 22-year-old kid? What is the proper line here? At what point does the dichotomy between proper observation and unfairness begin?
Well, good luck finding that proper line on social media. In the time since Davis' thrilling return, Foster has been inundated with angry words from disgruntled Alabama fans.
All it takes is a quick Twitter search to reveal homophobic, vile hate speech (which won't be linked to, since this is a family website), death threats and any number of other disgusting insults being tossed Foster's way. His Twitter account, which I won't link to out of respect, has even gone dark, and his top-line name has been changed so it doesn't show up in the search function.
Here's a little snapshot of what Foster is currently dealing with. Some, like these rational folks, seem to want him to cease living:
Others merely want him to kill himself:
@Foster_43 SHOULD KILL HIS DAMN SELF!!!!!— Shad♍ (@Showtime_Shad2) December 1, 2013
This classy young lass, whose name I can surmise is Sara, would not only like Foster to die but also his entire family:
Cade foster I'm gonna kill you and your family just FYI— Sara (@saraculvs) December 1, 2013
Some have moved on from Foster's family and hope that his girlfriend steps out on him for missing kicks in a football game:
@Foster_43 your damn girlfriend should dump you😳 You are ass— 6⃣8⃣4⃣ (@CampBlaine) December 1, 2013
The less-threatening messages kindly request Foster not return to Tuscaloosa. Like...ever:
Despite all the ugliness that's being directed his way, some have reached out to offer their support. Others have even (rightly) chastised those going after a 22-year-old kid for something so trivial:
Foster eventually commented on the backlash he received after the loss to Auburn on his Twitter account:
Heat of the moment aside, I think all of us can agree that threatening someone's life over a football game—whether it's via social media or not—is out of hand. Here's to hoping that Foster and his family make it back to Tuscaloosa safely and Alabama fans choose against giving the program a black eye by acting irrationally.
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