49ers CEO Jed York said that he will "ultimately make the call" on LB Reuben Foster's status with the team after the player was charged with felony domestic violence, according to Lyons, Ravani, Branch & Kawahara of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Santa Clara County officials, who charged Foster on Thursday, said that he "beat up his girlfriend and ruptured her eardrum." The incident was Foster’s "second arrest in a month." He was also "arrested Jan. 12 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on suspicion of marijuana possession." In '17, Foster "failed a drug test at the NFL combine" after allegedly submitting a diluted urine sample. The 49ers’ "wait-and-see approach to Foster’s arrest had been compared with the swift action they took last April" when they released CB Tramaine Brock a day after he was "arrested and accused of trying to strangle his girlfriend." 49ers GM John Lynch said that he was "aware of the criticism he’d taken for releasing Brock, a player he inherited, but retaining Foster," his second draft pick as GM (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/13). The 49ers are still "evaluating whether Foster will be welcomed to participate in the voluntary offseason program that opens Monday" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 4/13). Outside of being released from the 49ers, any other discipline of Foster "would have to come from the NFL" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 4/13).
SHOWING POOR FORM? In S.F., Ann Killion in a front-page piece writes under the header, "49ers' Response To Foster Charges Is Shameful." Killion: "Let me translate the 49ers’ statement for you: Don’t believe us when we say we will hold our employees accountable. Don’t believe us when we say we want to be a good community partner. Only believe that talent trumps trouble." The 49ers will "bend over backwards to accommodate a talented player whom we personally selected." The 49ers’ plan may be to "bide their time and wait out the legal process and the NFL process and hope they can someday, somehow get their prized linebacker back." If so, they will "spend that time struggling in ethical quicksand" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/13). ESPN’s Trey Wingo said the mindset among NFL personnel is "never going to change" -- the “better they think you are as a player, the more leeway they’re going to give you.” ESPN Radio’s Mike Golic noted if “half of this stuff is true” that Foster is charged with, then "why the hell is that person in the league?" He compared this situation to that of Colin Kaepernick by saying, "We’ve got people trying to get money and help others. ... They’re ostracized from the league” ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 4/13).
INACTION SAYS A LOT: THE ATHLETIC's Tim Kawakami wrote the 49ers "ducked the main issue" by deciding to "not do anything, with the football universe watching." If the 49ers braintrust had "just taken one step back, read the Santa Clara County District Attorney's description ... and thought about what the DA says happened to the victim, then the decision should have been simple." Kawakami: "It should have been morally and ethically clear" (THEATHLETIC.com, 4/12). In San Jose, Dieter Kurtenbach writes the 49ers have, again, "sided with Foster when the writing on the wall is easy-to-read and says to do the opposite." Kurtenbach: "Do they believe that the DA is overzealous? If so, that’s one a bold-as-hell stance for the organization to take." The 49ers had 14 players arrested between '12-16 -- the most in the NFL -- and coach Kyle Shanahan and Lynch "promised they would change the culture in Santa Clara when they took over the team last offseason" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 4/13).
WAITING TO DECIDE? ESPN’s Jeff Saturday said the 49ers are handling the situation "the best way they can” by waiting for the legal process "to play out” (“NFL Live,” ESPN, 4/12). However, BLEACHER REPORT's Mike Tanier asked, "Are teams still waiting for convictions before they act upon charges of violent crimes? And if the charges are eventually dropped ... do the 49ers plan to pretend to act like nothing happened and that Foster doesn't have a profoundly troubling pattern of behavior?" Tanier: "It's as if the Ray Rice incident never happened. Or Greg Hardy. Or Josh Brown. We were supposed to have learned all of these lessons and gotten smarter. What happened?" (BLEACHERREPORT.com, 4/12).