UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen has never been one to bite his tongue, and the budding star says he has no plans to start now. Rosen said he feels a responsibility to speak out for those less fortunate—especially the guys on his Bruins roster.
"I have connections that will do me well in life," Rosen, who comes from an affluent family, told CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd in an August interview. "I will be OK without football. I want to fight for the people who won't be OK. They're the ones who are going to be screwed in life because they're the ones who are living in [a] team room because they can't make a security deposit."
Rosen said he plans to continue fighting for players' rights while in college, though he acknowledges he's not in a position of power. The sophomore quarterback said he hopes his work on the field—specifically winning a national championship—will help him gain the exposure necessary to take down the current NCAA system.
"People say, 'You're just being an ignorant rich kid,'" Rosen said. "I understand I come from affluence and a privileged family, but no one who is at risk is going to speak out. I don't give a s--t if I'm going to be taken care of with money that comes into college football. The whole idea [is] leaving a place better than you found it."
Rosen was incredulous at the idea of college sports, specifically football, as being considered amateur. He said the amount of money schools are making disqualifies that status.
"It's absolutely too much to be considered an amateur [sport]," Rosen said. "I love coach [Jim] Mora to death, but if they want to call it an amateur sport, hire amateur coaches, don't have TV deals. Don't have 100,000 people in the stands and don't sell tickets."
He likened college football to indentured servitude, a system in which workers are unpaid but are under contract—usually for some other type of compensation. It was popular during the 18th and 19th centuries and has since been outlawed in most developed nations.
"We're not going to say 'slave labor,' but it's almost like indentured servitude," Rosen said. "I'm going to be OK. I want to fight for those who won't be OK. I see it every day with these kids who are underprivileged."
Rosen is one of the most decorated prep quarterbacks to ever attend UCLA. He broke out with a strong true freshman season but has faltered a bit in 2016, throwing three interceptions in an opening loss to Texas A&M.
Rosen previously drew headlines for his criticism of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Mora publicly cautioned his quarterback about his declarations but said he would not attempt to silence him.
“We had conversations about that and…about the image that he’s projecting for himself and for his university,” Mora told reporters at Pac-12 media day. “But I’ll tell you this: UCLA has a long history, going back to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—who was Lew Alcindor at the time—and Bill Walton, of having people on their campus that are socially aware and not afraid to rattle the cage a little bit."
Mora has not publicly commented on Rosen's latest interview.
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