49ers: Reuben Foster will not participate in team activities

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The NFL, for reasons neither apparent nor obvious, chose not to place 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster on the Commissioner’s Exempt list after the 2017 first-rounder was charged with three felonies arising from an alleged incident of domestic violence. The 49ers have decided to handle the situation on their own.

“Reuben Foster will not participate in team activities as he is tending to his legal matters,” the 49ers said in a joint statement from CEO Jed York, G.M. John Lynch, and coach Kyle Shanahan. “As previously stated, his future with the team will be determined by the information revealed during the legal process.”

Given that the wheels of justice can often grind slowly, this could mean the Foster will miss the offseason program, training camp, the preseason, and all or part of the regular season — if “tending to his legal matters” means “until the legal situation is resolved.”

It’s unclear why the 49ers are hinging Foster’s future on the legal process; all teams (and the league itself) have the capacity to investigate situations like this, and to come to their own conclusions independent of the decisions made by the criminal justice system. Indeed, the NFL decided in the aftermath of the Ray Rice debacle to no longer defer to the authorities when deciding what to do about a player who allegedly engaged in off-field misconduct.

For Foster, the simple reality is that if he were a fringe player, he’d already have been cut. His status as a first rounder who played well as a rookie has bought him some time and a sliver of the benefit of the doubt. Sunday’s move allows the 49ers to avoid the P.R. consequences of allowing Foster to participate in the offseason program (and likely beyond) while the matter is pending.

The 49ers likely lack the authority to make this move, absent Foster’s consent. It’s possible, if Foster didn’t consent to the decision, that Foster will push back against the effort to keep him out of the building. If he pushes too hard, however, the 49ers could simply do what they would have done if he weren’t regarded as a good player: Cut him loose.

35 responses to “49ers: Reuben Foster will not participate in team activities

  1. Smart play. They already screwed up using a 1st on a guy with huge red flags going into the draft. Have to keep him at a distance one for PR purposes and two in case he would come and tear an ACL or something. Then you would have to pay him. I really don’t think they had any other sensible play at the moment.

  2. Random person: “Manziel was out of the NFL in 2 years. That’s hard to beat.”

    Reuben Foster: “Hold my beer.”

  3. He’s got time to hang out with… Aldon smith,Jonny Manziel,
    I wish him well. It’s hard for me to understand how someone with a great future could throw it all away.

  4. Let him sort out his personal problems and legal issues, before he even takes the field.

    9ERS would be foolish to cut him. He’s still young and too talented. I can almost assure you 20 other teams would be happy to pick up him up if he was cut.

    Almost everyone on here criticizing the 9ERS for keeping him are hypocrites. If if their favorite team signed him tomorrow they would be singing a different tune

  5. He should not be cut as he is still innocent until proven guilty. However, it is foolish to allow someone accused of these things to show up at your place of employment, sure, I doubt he is a danger to the other gladiators in the building, but there are others that he is likely to interact with. Isn’t this the guy that could not make it through a combine medical interview? Sometimes, that extra large unlimited toppings pizza is $6.99 for a reason..

  6. Really strange the league hasn’t done anything. Teams have moved a little slower, but roger has been quick with the hammer these last few years. Plus if they acted quick and suspended him they wouldn’t have this bad press to deal with around the draft, their favorite offseason news dominator.

  7. John Lynch has disappointed me in his handling of Foster. Lynch could have sent a message to all current and future Niners, even if you have talent, you can’t do these kinds of things and remain on our team.

    But it’s not just Lynch and the Niners, sadly, talent trumps all in pro sports. Guys who are just hanging onto their spot on the team get cut quickly for minor things, but guys with talent get such a long leash.

    I’m not against second changes either mind you. But Foster has already had transgressions prior to this.

    He should have been released already.

  8. Sad thing in the NFL now is it’s not how horrible you are as a person but how good of a player you are…So, the better the player. The more you’ll take? Cut him now.

  9. Foster obviously has either never heard of Aldon Smith or not learned from his example of how to ruin your NFL career.

  10. The league should have already suspended him. Elliot was never even actually arrested and was just a person of interest. He should be suspended immediately.

  11. Exercise civil liberties and you are out. Hit a woman and you might miss a couple of games. Says a lot about the viewing public.

  12. The only way Reubs gets cut is if he goes to jail or is a repeat offender.

    It would probably be wise to give him a “bodyguard” to supervise him until he shows that he’s ready to start carrying himself properly.

    People who have tough upbringings have challenges transitioning to life in the NFL. It’s unrealistic to expect all players with a past like his to understand how to behave properly. Keeping him employed and investing in mentoring him will save his life.

  13. “…has bought him some time and a sliver of the benefit of the doubt. ”

    What doubt? There isn’t any doubt he’s been charged with 3 felonies.
    The NFL suspended Zeke Elliot and he was never even charged with any crimes.
    If the NFL would truly defer to the legal system and remain consistent with that practice then it would be a major step forward.
    The NFL shows with every case, that they have no consistent policy on domestic violence.

  14. 49’ers trying to play on both sides of the fence…can’t admit Lynch made a HUGE mistake…pretty pathetic really…

  15. 49ers are in a tough spot. Cut him and some other team will surely take a flier on him. But keeping him on the team is a PR nightmare.

    Besides his inability to go 5 minutes without getting into trouble, he also misses a lot of games with injuries from his reckless style of play.

    All Pro talent, but you can’t rely on him to even be available. I think the Niners are playing this one right. See how the charges play out, then cut him when he’s suspended.

  16. May be they learned from past mistakes, when they cut Tramaine Brock, who was charged with domestic violence and cut as soon as he was arrested. He later beat the rap and was neither convicted nor suspended by the NFL.

  17. A suspension is the least of his worries, this one wont be a slap on the wrist and settled out of court with dropped charges because he completed some behavioral program. This dude will be going to jail if any of this is remotely true.

  18. I’m not a Niner fan at all in fact I can’t stand the team but what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty! If he was on my team and cut then found not guilty I wouldn’t be happy…I think Goodell hasn’t suspended him yet because that didn’t play well with Elliot when he was found innocent…if this guy is guilty then the decision is a no brainier…you can’t just have a trial of public opinion and then take away his employment for an accusation…I’m not being nieve because he probably did it but let’s just let the court decide first

  19. Must be nice to be 1st round pick. Tramaine Brock was released the same day he was arrested.

    One of my favorite Lynch quotes “I think where we’ve been consistent is we have said that character is important to us, football character and I think that’s for a lot of reasons. First of all, just the right thing. How you want to carry yourself as an individual and as an organization. But, Kyle and I also believe and some of our conversations that led to us coming together is that that’s how you put together a great football team too. And football character means a lot of different things.”

  20. David Szwartz says:
    April 15, 2018 at 10:37 pm
    Aldon Smith here’s your new Cellmate

    YES!! Maybe they can beat each other!! for once against a guy!!!

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