Most domestic violence cases ultimately hinge on the willingness of the alleged victim to cooperate. In the case involving 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, some are speculating that the alleged victim will not be cooperating.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that the alleged victim in Foster’s case has hired a lawyer. The lawyer, Stephanie Rickard, has confirmed her role, but she declined to say why the alleged victim, Foster’s former girlfriend, has retained counsel.
As Barrows explains it, some victims in domestic violence cases hire lawyers in order to explore and to understand their rights, if they want to not testify or not cooperate with the authorities.
If the alleged victim won’t cooperate, it becomes much more difficult to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal court, especially if the only witnesses to the incident were the two people involved in it. If the alleged victim in this case refuses to cooperate with the NFL, it becomes virtually impossible to find the player to be in violation of the Personal Conduct Policy.
In Ezekiel Elliott‘s case, the alleged victim submitted to multiple interviews with the league, making it easier for the league to harvest evidence that supported his suspension. If the alleged victim in Foster’s case refuses to speak to the NFL, the NFL will be required to find other evidence of wrongdoing.
It all means that, regardless of guilt or innocence, Foster could end up avoiding both a conviction and a suspension for domestic violence. (He separately faces a felony charge of possessing an illegal assault rifle.) Which could explain why the 49ers have opted not to make any quick decisions about the situation. In the end, there may be nothing that keeps Foster from continuing his NFL career.