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Redskins and the Reuben Foster roller coaster

November 30, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Like other major corporations, the Washington Redskins are a many-layered sports franchise, and entertainment and money-making are its key reasons for being.

Universal Studios in Orlando places its skin in the game, too, when promoting a new intense roller coaster. In that sense, the ’Skins are no different.

For the Redskins, a new player named Reuben Foster is lined up. Many NFL fans, it’s safe to say, hadn’t a clue as to who this guy is let alone what he is.

Short story: Foster, 24, is an Alabama native, played for the Crimson Tide and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers.

He was suspended this summer after his personal off-field conduct (weapons offense, misdemeanor drug offense, domestic abuse allegations) overwhelmed his reputation as a linebacker, an upright linebacker.

Earlier this week, Dan Snyder reminded us he had skin in the game after inviting in Foster amid new allegations of domestic abuse.

Granted, Mr. Snyder is paying Foster out of his own pocket, which runneth over thanks to marketing, season-ticket holders, concession sales and other assets.

But, as Tyler Perry’s Madea Simmons might say, “That man’s ‘bout entertainin’ folks and havin’ fun. He been ridin’ the Redskin’ rollah coaster a long time and dun turned into a scaredy cat.

“The Redskin’ don’t even unveil on Jack Gruden webber page that he Jay Gruden’s boy.”

Jack is a video assistant for the Redskins, and Jay Gruden is the Redskins’ head coach, the man on whose shoulders it will fall to ensure Foster is an exceptional on-field player.

It falls to Foster and his true family and friends to ensure he walks the straight and narrow. Such character reform doesn’t fall into the hands of a jail, prison or correctional institution.

Critics of the Redskins-Foster deal miss the point when they focus on the domestic abuse aspect.

Of course, the first comparison was to abuser and former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who had garnered support after initial allegations that he had abused his wife until TMZ aired a second video of the assault inside an Atlantic City hotel elevator. That led to the end of Rice’s NFL career.

For Foster, this could indeed be the end of his career, and not because of smoking pot.

Foster needs to want to change his ways, and perhaps his circle of associates. He does, after all, have a young daughter to consider. And you know the saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt.”

Important, too, is the fact that while Foster is still a young man, he hasn’t been injury-free, having suffered a torn rotator cuff and an ankle injury in his young carrier.

Meanwhile, the Redskins point to the intense roller coaster ride Foster takes before he hits Redskins Park or FedEx Field this summer.

Said Coach Gruden on Wednesday: “We all had our hands in it. And we accept, obviously, the questions, but we want to let the process play out and see what happens and get to the bottom of it.

“There’s no guarantee he’s ever gonna play here, to be honest with you. He’s got a lot of work to do personally, with the team, with the NFL, with himself before he even thinks about playing football again,” the coach said.

Amen to that.

If Foster has his skin in the game of life, he might help put butts in the seats at FedEx, and that’s the end game in the business of sports.

⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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