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“Now that African-Americans have tried to make it a term of endearment … that they can use to embrace one another, now they try to ban it,” he said.

Foxworth, who is in his first year at the business school, helped put the panel together, calling on some old friends from his football days. Deciding to pursue his MBA, he said, is itself an attempt to redefine the image of a black athlete.

“It’s part of telling more than my one story,” he said. “I was a football player, but I’m more than that, and I want people to know that, too.”

Foster, who has about 437,000 Twitter followers, said he uses the platform to criticize the NCAA - drawing a big crowd from the business school students. He said he was initially circumspect on social media, but as he gained stature as a player he realized he could speak his mind without fear.

“I just feel like people accept you more for you who are than putting on a facade of this perfect little athlete everyone wants you to be,” he said.

“I’m at the point in my career where I don’t really care any more. I used to be very aware of, ‘I don’t want to say the wrong thing.’ But if they cut me today, I would be perfectly fine and I’d be OK with that. I feel a responsibility to push a lot of these issues.

“NCAA athletes, they’re afraid to talk about because of the lashing they would get from the NCAA. I’m outspoken for them.”

Someday, he said, the issue of paying college athletes will be looked at refusing to allow women to vote before the 19th Amendment.

“We’re going to be like, ‘What were we thinking?” he said.