Redskins Brass Reportedly Divided Over Move To Claim LB Foster
The Redskins yesterday claimed former 49ers LB Reuben Foster off waivers, just two days after Foster was released by the 49ers following a weekend arrest on a domestic violence charge, and team decision-makers were "said to be divided" over the decision, according to Carpenter & Copeland of the WASHINGTON POST. A source said that the team's front office was "far from unanimous about the idea," and that Redskins President Bruce Allen "masterminded the decision to claim him." Foster was "placed on the NFL's commissioner's exempt list pending a league investigation into the charge, meaning it is unlikely Foster will play for the Redskins this year." The move to claim Foster "prompted outrage from some users on social media given the nature of his arrest." The Redskins "did not comment" beyond releasing a statement from Senior VP/Player Personnel Doug Williams that noted the team will "conduct its own investigation of Foster, taking time to study the allegations." It was the "third time this year" that Foster "had been charged with a crime." Claiming Foster is a "much bigger risk" from a PR standpoint than an on-field perspective, especially on a team in which the wives of Owner Daniel Snyder, Allen and coach Jay Gruden have "publicly expressed support for charities that help women who are victims of domestic violence" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/28).
UNLIKELY TO PLAY: ESPN.com's John Keim reported there is "no guarantee Foster will ever play for the team." A source said that the Redskins were the "only team to put in a waiver claim for Foster" (ESPN.com, 11/27). In San Jose, Cam Inman notes NFL policy "mandates a six-game suspension in domestic-violence cases, although the league did not discipline Foster this past offseason until after a judge dropped domestic-violence charges against him regarding a February arrest" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 11/28). Meanwhile, USA TODAY's A.J. Perez reports the Eagles were the "lone team that contacted the Tampa Police Department," which was responsible for Foster's arrest over the weekend, for details about the misdemeanor domestic battery charge (USA TODAY, 11/28).
MAKING THE WRONG MOVE: In DC, Jerry Brewer writes while the rest of the NFL deemed the risk of claiming Foster as "too great," the Redskins organization "did what it often does: the wrong thing." The team "looked at Foster for his value as a player, not for the signs that indicate a lack of character as a person." Brewer: "The Redskins are that franchise again. They don't stand for anything." Fans should not "act like playing for this franchise means something special right now, because a man can be accused of slapping a woman with an open hand and then be welcomed to your team 72 hours later" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/28). USA TODAY's Mike Jones writes, "I don't care how desperate you are to make the playoffs." There is "absolutely no justification" for adding Foster. The move shows a domestic violence charge "isn't a big deal to the Redskins." Team officials "let character go right out the window" (USA TODAY, 11/28). In DC, JP Finlay writes the Redskins "added Foster knowing full well the reaction that would come with the news." Through a "strictly football lens, the move has no downside" for the Redskins. However, it "doesn't change both the perception and some of the reality that signing Reuben Foster brings." Finlay: "Three arrests this year, and one suspension, and still the Redskins thought claiming Foster was worth the trouble" (NBCSPORTSWASHINGTON.com, 11/28).
MORE OF THE SAME: NBC Sports Washington's Brian Mitchell said, "I understand when guys have great talent we sometimes overlook things, but domestic violence is something you can't overlook" (NBCSPORTSWASHINGTON.com, 11/27). NBC Sports Bay Area's Kelli Johnson: "The NFL has shown that when it comes to talent, they'll give you second chances, and when it comes to domestic violence or gun charges, they're okay with it" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 11/27). SI.com's Robert Klemko wrote, "The very clear message Foster's signing signals to anyone listening: Winning matters. People don't" (SI.com, 11/27). YAHOO SPORTS' Charles Robinson writes this is a "peak Dan Snyder moment." Doing "whatever suits him, whenever it suits him." As "selfish and hypocritical as ever" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/28).
QUESTIONS BEING ASKED: NBC Sports Washington's Finlay said the NFL has "tried to show that they take domestic violence serious." But it is "hard to know how serious they're taking the issue." Plenty of fans are "going to be outraged by this move" (NBCSPORTSWASHINGTON.com, 11/27). ESPN's Adam Schefter said the NFL "finds itself once again in one of those tricky situations about someone being innocent until proven guilty yet being accused of something very serious that the league cannot just look the other way on" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 11/27). In S.F., Ann Killion writes the NFL is "intently interested in marketing to women," who make up 45% of its fans. Yet the league "doesn't give a damn if a man arrested for domestic violence on a Saturday is hired by another team on a Tuesday" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/28). CBS' Gayle King said the Redskins claiming Foster is "going to make a lot of people raise a lot of questions" ("CBS This Morning," 11/28).
TWITTER REAX: The Athletic's Richard Deitsch tweeted the Redskins "just told you today what they think about domestic violence." ESPN's Buster Olney: "Redskins send vile, inexcusable message on domestic violence by adding Reuben Foster." Actor Michael Rapaport: "Yo @Redskins you won’t give Colin Kaepernick a tryout but you’ll claim Reuben Foster? ... Yo Danny Snyder, what’s your deal?" SiriusXM Radio's Ross Tucker noted, "Redskins are paying Reuben Foster $33K per week to NOT play for them while legal & NFL disciplinary process play out with him on Commissioner's Exempt List."