NFL threads a needle in fining but not suspending Reuben Foster

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One of the benefits of a Friday afternoon NFL bad-news dump is that maybe not as many people will notice. The other benefit is that maybe people won’t ask the NFL tough questions about it.

Plenty of tough questions could be asked about the NFL’s decision to fine but not to suspend Washington linebacker Reuben Foster after the incident that got him fired by the 49ers — and that resulted in the NFL placing Foster on the Commissioner Exempt list after Washington claimed Foster on waivers last November.

So how does the NFL, with a Personal Conduct Policy that vows decisive action against alleged domestic abusers and potential repeat offenders (Foster is both), only fine Foster two game checks and not suspend him? (Foster has twice been accused of domestic abuse. On both occasions, his accuser recanted her allegations. He was suspended two games last year after a substance-abuse policy violation and a no-contest plea to a weapons charge that arose from his 2018 domestic-violence arrest.)

Here’s why Foster wasn’t suspended, based on information leaked by the league to one of its in-house reporters: The NFL viewed video provided by the hotel where the latest incident happened, and it decided that no violation of the Personal Conduct Policy occurred, and multiple attempts to contact the accuser “were unsuccessful.”

So why was Foster fined? Again, here’s what the NFL leaked to its in-house reporter: It “is related to other behavior over the past year and failing to live up to obligations the NFL set forth as part of Foster’s 2-game suspension last year for drug and weapons charges.”

So what does that mean? Apparently, we’ll find out if/when the NFL leaks more details about what Foster did to deserve a two-game fine to one of its in-house reporters.

Or maybe it won’t. Maybe that’s all we’ll ever know about a process that continues to be more about P.R. than justice, where the league seemingly picks a desired outcome based on how it will fly in the public eye and then works backward.

Even though the league concluded that Foster didn’t violate the Personal Conduct Policy, the league knew that it couldn’t give him a pass. So the league fined him for something he surely wouldn’t have been fined for if he’d never landed on the league’s radar screen for a potential violation of the Personal Conduct Policy that the league ultimately concluded wasn’t a violation at all.

Still, don’t feel bad for Foster. He got paid last year for five games in which he didn’t play. This year, he’ll play in two games without getting paid.

The end result? Washington now has the full benefit of a first-round pick on whom the 49ers have given up. Unless and until Foster does something else that gets him suspended, not fined.

14 responses to “NFL threads a needle in fining but not suspending Reuben Foster

  1. The NFL leaking what is supposed to be confidential information about Ruben Foster is just another example of their lack of integrity. While I do not want to condone anything foster has done he was basically exonerated on this particular charge and he had been already punished by not being permitted to play and being cut for what proved to be an unsubstantiated accusation. But the NFL found a way to punish him anyway for unrelated issues that had not been announced before. Then it leaks information to make itself look good. Go Roger!

  2. He was suspended for 5 games last year. The NFL should just stay out of the criminal justice system. They screw it up everytime.

  3. Reminds me of the fine line NFL threaded when they didn’t fined or suspended Eli for selling faked NFL game memorabilia, or suspend Rodgers despite his admitting ball-PSI impropriety.

  4. DOES IT MATTER?
    No matter what the NFL does in these cases, it can NEVER do the “right” thing in the eyes of the media.
    Therefore, I side with the NFL, Foster’s EMPLOYER.
    Employers make the rules for employees to follow. When an employee breaks the rules, the employer can and should discipline them to the fullest extent possible.
    Foster committed DV yet the media protects him.
    One must ask WHY!

  5. He’ll keep doing this because he can always get off by paying off the victim. Who cares about the victim as long as he is a good football player. Pathetic.

  6. The case has the usual Goodell stink around it. The truth inevitably comes out (and it has a funny way of blowing up in rog’s face), we’ll find out what the fine was really for and that will inevitably lead to another line of questions, which will result in further embarrassing PR for the league. Rinse and repeat.

  7. Also the fact He didn’t have a Star on the side of His helmet factored into the non-suspension. Showing once again Goodell a puppet of the Mara’s.

  8. Only the NFL: where the media and half the fans demand a players head on a stick for an allegation. Then, when it is dis-proven, the NFL still issues a punishment, and, many fans still demand his head on a pike.

  9. Foster should appeal the fine because he was not convicted nor was he even charged with a crime. The woman who got him arrested in Tampa is the same one who told the judge that she falsely accused him in an earlier case. What was she doing in Tampa the same time that he was scheduled to play a game there? Why did she show up in his hotel. Was he being stalked? If being stalked means you should be fined by the league, then the league is unjust.

  10. Now since this miscreant isn’t being suspended, then we need to either invalidate his move to Washington and to restore the 49er’s rights to him or award the 49er’s a compensatory pick at the expense of Washington. How this was handled is unfair to the 49ers and Washington should not get the benefit off the 49ers dumping a miscreant and doing the right thing. Outrageous action by the NFL!

  11. San Francisco getting screwed aside, Foster has been consistently enabled throughout his career. He’s gotten to skate on everything. His GF admitted later she made up the story that she made up the story saying he didn’t do it. It’s all so obviously a pay-off yet no one wants to accept it. Karma however assures that the surgically repaired shoulder will act up as it did with San Francisco and he will again be on the sidelines which will have the same ultimate outcome as being suspended and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving team than the Deadskins.

  12. As a Giants fan, I thought only we got “preferential treatment” in this department. I guess Skins fans will have to drum up a different excuse for why their team has been the laughing stock of the NFC East since the early 90s.

  13. The situation in Washington might be good for RF. He’s a Bama alum, and so are a majority of the defensive starters in DC.

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