AP NEWS

Reuben Foster is cleared but why isn’t clear

April 14, 2019

Friday afternoon the news broke that the NFL would not be suspending linebacker Reuben Foster despite two arrests for domestic violence last year with the charges dropped in both cases finding the Washington Redskins linebacker did not violate the league’s personal conduct policy.

The Redskins, who claimed Foster on waivers after the San Francisco 49ers released him following his arrest in Tampa on Nov. 24, then issued this statement:

“Everyone in this league is held to a higher standard. Reuben understands that his past actions have led a lot of people to doubt him, and he has committed to doing the work necessary to earn the trust of his teammates, our great fans, and the NFL.”

The Redskins have put in place a comprehensive responsibility and accountability plan to help Reuben be successful on and off the field. Elements of this plan include individual counseling, a structured living arrangement, weekly meetings with the club player engagement director, weekly meetings with our team chaplain, and targeted community service engagements.

“We have been very clear with Reuben that his past does not have to determine his future but the responsibility is squarely on him to change. Reuben must fully adhere to the plan we have developed for him. Reuben knows that we simply will not tolerate any future conduct that is detrimental to the Washington Redskins organization or to the NFL.”

That’s how the Redskins plan to handle Foster.

My question is why?

Why all these steps put in place for a player who had the charges dropped against him and who, after an investigation by the NFL, was not suspended?

Why the individual counseling? A structured living arrangement? Weekly meeting with the club player engagement director, the team chaplain and targeted community service engagements for a player who was simply fined two game checks by the league for a “review of recent incidents and an assessment of his adherence to obligations arising from previous violations of league policy.”

Foster was suspended when he was in San Francisco by the league for the first two games of 2018 for violating the league’s conduct and substance abuse policies.

But those were related to marijuana charges in Alabama and weapons charges in connection with his first arrest on domestic violence charges, which were dismissed by a judge after the victim who would be the same woman involved in the Tampa incident recanted her claim.

The weapons charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and the marijuana charge dropped after he agreed to enter a program for first-time offenders.

Are we to conclude that Foster needs all this counseling, supervision and structure because he had a gun and smoked pot? If that is the case, then half the league should be signed up for the Redskins redemption program.

So then why this “comprehensive responsibility and accountability plan” for Reuben Foster? What is everyone afraid of?

Despite this notion that Foster has been “cleared” by the NFL’s decision not to suspend him, it’s clear that those at Redskins Park believe there is reason to be concerned about Foster’s behavior.

The domestic violence charges may have been dismissed or dropped in both cases, but in the first case in Santa Clara, the district attorney said he believed that the woman, Elissa Ennis, was lying in her recantation.

As far as the district attorney was concerned, Foster beat Ms. Ennis.

“We are disappointed because the evidence demonstrated that Mr. Foster seriously hurt his girlfriend,” district attorney Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement. “Some have wondered why we still think Mr. Foster hurt his girlfriend when she said that he didn’t. Recantation is common among domestic-violence victims. Some are scared, some feel guilty, some are coerced, some need money. Whatever the cause, we move forward on cases when victims falsely recant because we know that if we don’t more victims will be hurt.”

So now team president Bruce Allen, the Prince of Darkness, whose name was attached to the Friday’s Redskins statement, will be Father Flanagan, running a halfway house to save Reuben Foster. For Foster’s sake, let’s hope they do that better than running a football team.

Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast every Tuesday and Thursday.