The website owned and operated by the NFL mentions it; the website owned and operated by the 49ers does not.
Linebacker Reuben Foster, a first-round pick the 49ers snatched at 31 due to multiple concerns that prompted the top-five talent to slide down the board, ended up behind bars on Sunday following an arrest for domestic violence and possession of an assault rifle. At the team’s official website and Twitter page, however, no reference is made to Foster’s second legal entanglement in less than a month (or to his first).
Check out the team’s website, where “Garoppolo” is currently so prevalent it’s hard not to wonder whether they’ve changed the franchise’s nickname. There’s nothing about Foster’s arrest, anywhere. Ditto for the Twitter page.
We’re not suggesting the 49ers should revel in the news that their faith in Foster may have been more than a little misplaced. But the arrest happened. It’s a fact. The team has issued a statement acknowledging it. To omit any reference to it from the team’s website underscores the fundamental problem with media owned and operated by a sports league or a sports team.
Leagues and teams can, and at times will, hide from view stories or other facts that are embarrassing or inconvenient. Given that the 49ers hope to parlay their $137.5 million investment in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo into immediate season-ticket sales (as evidenced by the pop-up ad that greets anyone who dials up the official website), the last thing the team needs to do is point out that another player has given credence to the red flags that most other teams noticed — and heeded — 10 months ago.
The dynamic invites skepticism as it relates to the rest of the content of any team-owned website. Are any of the articles, videos, and/or “exclusive” interviews with coaches and players an actual glimpse of what the team is all about, or merely an effort to restrict the snapshot only to that which they want the visitor to see?
Many have known the answer to that question for years. Today, the 49ers provide one of the most glaring examples of it.