When cornerback Tramaine Brock was arrested in what was described as a domestic violence incident last year, the 49ers didn’t wait long to release him from their roster.
The team has not taken the same approach with linebacker Rueben Foster, who was arrested on charges of domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon on February 12. General Manager John Lynch addressed that arrest publicly for the first time on Wednesday and said that every situation is different.
Lynch said he knows people outside the organization can “read into” that what they might, but didn’t go into further detail about the direction they’ve chosen to take this time.
“We’ve made it a part of our core principles, our core values, that we’re going to be transparent,” Lynch said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “We feel like the fans deserve to know. We want them to know. With this, we’ve been a little quiet. And that’s for a reason. There are certain places I can’t and won’t go because we’re dealing with an ongoing legal matter. That’s in everyone’s best interest.”
Lynch also touched on last year’s confidence that Foster’s past off-field red flags did not forecast future issues. He said the team wanted to build a “great structure” around the 2017 first-round pick, but found “it’s probably a lot easier” to do so in college than the NFL. Lynch said he and coach Kyle Shanahan have spoken to Foster, who was also arrested for marijuana possession this offseason, about the “high standard” they have for players in the organization.
Those conversations may have come too late to avoid losing the linebacker to a suspension for a portion of the 2018 season and the team’s handling of these situations will likely come up again once the case has reached a point where Lynch can be more forthcoming.