Last Saturday night, I was cruising back home and feeling good on the Bay Bridge after covering an entertaining game at Oracle Arena between the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.
That mood changed rather swiftly when 95.7 The Game producer John Kerley alerted me via text that former 49ers’ linebacker Reuben Foster was arrested at the team hotel, the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, on one count of first-degree misdemeanor domestic-violence battery.
I couldn’t believe it. The first word I blurted was, “Wow.” Really, how could Foster cost himself a job by arrested for the third time in 2018?
There was no way the organization could keep Foster around, and I for sure thought he’d be cut by the next week.
General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan acted even quicker, and cut Foster, 24, a little more than four hours before their game Sunday morning against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Foster has since been claimed by the Washington Redskins despite these latest allegations. Colin Kaepernick, despite protesting peacefully, can’t even get a tryout, but a guy who’s been arrested three times in a calendar year can get claimed by another NFL team?
It was no doubt the right move to part ways with Foster, especially after details came out that this latest incident involved 28-year-old Elissa Ennis, the same women who accused him back in February for the same offense. Remember, Ennis recanted her story under oath, admitting to lying to investigators in a strange twist.
You’d think Foster would’ve moved on from Ennis after his freedom was nearly taken away, not to mention his playing career. Many, including Lynch and Shanahan, gave Foster the benefit of the doubt and kept him on the roster.
Even newcomer Richard Sherman showed up to Foster’s hearings this past offseason, supporting the former Butkus Award winner from the University of Alabama. I agreed with the organization’s decision to keep Foster on the roster, and the young man was lucky to receive a light two-game suspension from the NFL.
“We laid out some very specific ground rules for Reuben, as we do for all our players,” Lynch told Bay Area reporters an hour before kick-off against the Buccaneers. “We had a set of standards in place that the players were involved in developing. In this case, it was communicated exceptionally clear and to the point of what was expected out of him. Unfortunately, what transpired [Saturday], this wasn’t a comment on what happened there, because that would be mere speculation on our part. It’s more of a comment on him not living up to what we had communicated, to the energy and the time that we invested into him.”
The crazy part to me is how did Ennis know where Foster and the 49ers were staying? Well, for one, on Monday afternoon, Shanahan said he knew Foster had communicated with Ennis recently.
“I don’t know exactly what happened between Reuben and the accuser,” Shanahan said. “But after this happened a second time with the same person in our hotel, I think that decision-making was enough for us to move on. … He’s shown you can’t trust him to make the right decisions.”
I understand how longtime lovers could try to patch things up after a long relationship, but if my girl tried to ruin my career, I’d throw up the deuces. We’re done.
At the end of the day, Foster for some reason couldn’t shake this young women— or maybe he didn’t want to — but after details leaked from this latest incident — Ennis told Tampa police that Foster slapped her phone out of her hand, pushed her in the chest area, and slapped her with an open hand on the left side of her face — how did Foster end up in the same room as Ennis?
Does Foster really care about his football career? Does he legit need help? Well, the Redskins are going to try to help save his career. It’s highly doubtful he’ll play another game in 2018 as he’s been placed on the Commissioner Exempt list, but he still gets to hang out at an NFL facility.
Per the NFL, he “may not practice or attend games, but with the club’s permission he may be present at the club’s facility on a reasonable basis for meetings, individual workouts, therapy and rehabilitation, and other permitted non-football activities.”
That’s just wrong, but I’m not shocked. The NFL is an ass-backward organization. As long as you have talent, the Foster’s and Greg Hardy’s of the world will always have a spot in the NFL.
Remember Hardy, the former NFL player who got a job with the Dallas Cowboys despite beating up his ex-girlfriend? There was photo evidence that he abused his ex-girlfriend, and although he hasn’t been in the league since the 2015 season, he was still given another chance.
Foster’s time with San Francisco was a disappointment on many levels. He’s a player that could eventually cost Lynch his job in the future. The second-year general manager’s draft selections have mostly been busts, with the exception of George Kittle, Fred Warner, and Mike McGlinchey.
This upcoming offseason is humongous for Lynch. He took a chance on Foster and got burned. How he recovers from his investment in Foster will determine his fate.We have all offseason to break that down.
My final thoughts about this situation is mainly on Foster, and how he matures moving forward. His rough upbringing can no longer be an excuse. That’s over. Foster has to take control of his life and improve as a human being, or else he’ll be another Greg Hardy.