On Tuesday, Washington justified its decision to make a waivers claim for linebacker Reuben Foster by declaring that the powers-that-be spoke to Foster’s former Alabama teammates who currently play for the team. On Wednesday, it became clear that 40 percent of them weren’t contacted.
So what really happened?
“We didn’t hold a convention,” senior V.P. of player personnel Doug Williams told The Team 980 on Thursday. “It wasn’t like we talked to all five. . . . The ones we did talk to knew him very well.”
Here’s the quote from the P.R.-driven press release aimed at explaining the move to give safe harbor to a player who has been accused twice this year of domestic violence: “[W]e decided to investigate the situation with Reuben further by claiming his rights after candid conversations with a number of his ex-Alabama teammates and current Redskins players who were overwhelmingly supportive of us taking this chance.”
Technically, the statement is true and accurate. Still, why not talk to all five? How hard would that have been? What if one of the players to whom the team didn’t speak would have said something like, “Off the record, none of this surprises me”?
The fact that the team didn’t talk to all five underscores the reality that Washington simply took a blind flier on Foster, squatting on his rights and paying him more than $250,000 for dibs on his services in 2019, if/when he’s cleared to play. And it also shows that they did the absolute bare minimum to explore Foster’s true character before adding him to the team, opting instead to defer the bulk of the research to the days, weeks, and months to come.
The NFL can’t be happy with that. The story dominated sports and non-sports news on Wednesday, showing up in morning shows and nightly news and otherwise making the league seem insensitive to the scourge of domestic violence.