Doug Williams: Reuben Foster’s arrest ‘small potatoes’ compared to ‘a lot of things out there’
In a radio interview on The Team 980, Redskins senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said Thursday that linebacker Reuben Foster’s domestic violence arrest was “small potatoes” compared to “a lot of things out there.”
Foster was arrested Saturday after his ex-girlfriend accused him of slapping her in the face, his second domestic violence arrest of 2018. In February, Foster was accused by the same woman of domestic violence, but she later recanted her story in court.
The Redskins claimed him off waivers Tuesday following his release from the San Francisco 49ers.
The move sparked a widespread backlash in the public, but Williams said they expected it, given the climate of the country.
“We’ve got people who are in high, high, high, high places that have done far worse, if you look at it realistically, and they’re still up there,” Williams said. “This is small potatoes [compared] to a lot of things out there. But at the same time, it’s a big issue in America today, whether or not it’s in football, whether or not it’s in everyday life, whether or not it’s in politics, it’s out there.”
Foster, the 31st pick in the 2017 draft out of Alabama, was placed on the league’s Commissioner Exempt list, so he won’t be able to practice or play a game until the investigation is resolved.
But Williams said the team would “get the kid some help” as long as he’s with the Redskins. Foster has been arrested three times since the start of 2018.
“When you talk about bad decision [making], I think a lot of us can look at our household and we might have a kid who makes bad decision sometimes,” Williams said. “It ain’t just in the National Football League, it’s all the way across the country when you look at some of the things that have happened. It just so happened because the young man does play football.
“His visibility is so high because cameras, radio, social media, everything is involved in it. But you know things happen every day. Like I say, it’s not something we’re going to condone, but at the same time, we’ve got to look at it from a standpoint. I’m sure that if the young man had been in line to get a job at McDonald’s or somewhere else nobody be talking about it. But it is the National Football League, that get a lot of visibility”.
After Foster was initially claimed, Williams, in a statement, said the team had “candid conversations” with a number of Foster’s former Crimson Tide teammates and current Redskins who were supportive of the move. Washington has seven Alabama alums on their roster, two of whom are on injured reserve.
Former Alabama stars and current Redskins defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, however, denied they talked to management about Foster. In the radio interview, Williams said the front office talked to two teammates who knew Foster well. “We didn’t hold a convention,” he said.
Williams said the Redskins were willing to take the “PR” hit that comes with signing a player accused of domestic violence.
“We knew there was going to be some backlash, and we understand that, and rightfully so,” Williams said. “I’ve got six daughters, so it ain’t something I would condone, but at the same time I think we are in the business of at least looking into [his case]. I could sit here, and I won’t, name a bunch of teams that took on players that got a lot of baggage that nobody’s saying anything about. You can’t get into nitpicking what they do and what you do.
“You gotta look at it from your standpoint. There was a lot of thought that went into it. It wasn’t just a spur of the moment type of thing. We all gathered, we talked about it, we knew there was going to be some risk-reward involved in it.”
Williams said the team has to wait for the outcome of the investigation. There’s a chance, he acknowledged, Foster won’t ever suit up for the Redskins.
“One thing I did tell him ... this might be his last rodeo,” Williams said he told Foster. “I think that’s the most important thing to let him know that: No. 1 he has to get his business fixed and get things straight. Hopefully, things are not as bad as it’s been reported.”