Less than a week after being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, then released by the San Francisco 49ers, linebacker Reuben Foster has found a home with the Washington Redskins - a move that has sparked criticism of the NFL franchise for turning a blind eye to a problem that has plagued the league for years.
Foster, 24, was charged Saturday with one count of first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence after a woman told police he “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,” according to a police statement.
Officers received a call regarding a possible domestic violence situation at a Grand Hyatt hotel, where they found the athlete and a 28-year-old woman with whom he has been in an on again/off again relationship for three years. Police said they noticed a “one inch scratch” on the woman’s collarbone.
The San Francisco 49ers released Foster from the team Sunday.
Washington was the only team that put in a claim for him after his arrest, reports ESPN. Media criticism was swift.
"Reuben Foster has been arrested three times in 2018 and was suspended for two games to begin the NFL season," Field Yates, an NFL Insider for ESPN tweeted. "Less than 72 hours after being arrested on domestic violence charges and waived, a team claimed him on waivers, possibly to have him play right away. Give me a break."
Melissa Jacobs, founder of TheFootballGirl.com, pointed out that some players have been banned for kneeling.
Judy Battista, columnist for NFL.com, echoed that sentiment and said, "Fascinating that teams are so afraid of blowback to Kaepernick that nobody will touch him, but obviously don't fear strong enough backlash over a player repeatedly involved with domestic violence. What does that say about us as fans, esp. if the team is calculating correctly?"
Pete Prisco, NFL Columnist for CBS Sports called the move a "bad look."
It’s not clear if Foster will ever actually play for the team, either. He remains on the league's ineligible list pending the investigation.
In their statement announcing the move, Washington addressed the criticism.
"The Redskins fully understand the severity of the recent allegations made against Reuben. If true, you can be sure these allegations are nothing our organization would ever condone. Let me be clear, Reuben will have to go through numerous steps including the full legal process, an investigation and potential discipline from the NFL, as well as meetings with counselors associated with the team before he will ever have the opportunity to wear the Burgundy and Gold as a player," senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said in a statement.
However, the team didn't reach out to police involved in the investigation before claiming him, USA Today Sports reports.
Foster was released from custody Sunday, after posting $2,000 bond, according to online booking records.
The former linebacker was also arrested in January for possession of marijuana, but that charge was later dismissed.
[Photo Credit: Hillsborough County Jail]
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