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.
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:
Cade Foster go die.— carley martin (@carleyyy_martin) December 1, 2013
Drink bleach @Foster_43— Chris Taylor (@_CTaylor8) December 1, 2013
Die @foster_43— terrence york (@dc2kool_) December 1, 2013
Others merely want him to kill himself:
@Foster_43 I'm coming for you you gonna die tonight.— December Sixth (@Hov_Sean) December 1, 2013
Alabama as a team played awful but Cade Foster if you don't kill yourself I will— Pomp (@BIGPOMP56) December 1, 2013
@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:
DONT COME BACK TO CAMPUS @Foster_43— IG: djtookold (@TreTooKold) November 30, 2013
I hope you signed up for online classes next semester @Foster_43— PhinsUp (@DaTruthHurtsBad) December 1, 2013
@Foster_43 STAY OUT OF TUSCALOOSA YOU ARENT WELCOMED THERE ANYMORE— Mosby (@HosbyJones) December 1, 2013
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_43 you ruined that one for us. I'm glad you're a senior. You're the worst kicker in Alabama history.— Colson Bollinger (@BamaColson22) December 1, 2013
You can't attack Cade Foster and then turn around and call yourself a true fan. You support your team no matter what happens.— Ashley Dismukes (@Ashley_Dismukes) December 1, 2013
Cade Foster may not have been his best tonight but he's still a brilliant athlete and I will always support both him and my team #RTR— Michelle Nicholson (@Michelligator) December 1, 2013
People are seriously sending Cade Foster death threats? That's sorry. He had a bad game. Support your players.— Lindsay Chandler (@lchandler15) December 1, 2013
Foster eventually commented on the backlash he received after the loss to Auburn on his Twitter account:
My teammates are 100% behind me and I can't love them enough for that. Also thanks for the supportive messages from Fam, Friends, and Fans..— Cade Foster (@Foster_43) December 3, 2013
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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