Recently, on the 49ers Webzone, I presented and laid out an optimistic perspective on Reuben Foster while challenging the talented linebacker to take responsibility/accountability for his actions and becoming a better professional on and off the field moving forward.

In light of Foster's second arrest within the last 40 days, which involves domestic violence, threats, and assault weapon charges, I am now turning my attention to the culture and infrastructure around Reuben Foster; from an intervention specialist perspective. Now hold that thought...

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The 49ers maintain that football character matters


Also delivered recently on 49ers Webzone was an article entitled: 49ers' commitment to character should mean releasing Reuben Foster. The article lays out how the old and new regime of the 49ers' brass handled former players that dealt with serious off-the-field issues as well as Foster's childhood history and upbringing, most notably his father, Danny Foster, shooting his mother and him when he was 19 months old. And his well-documented trials and tribulations during his collegiate and professional career.

Intervention Specialist Perspective (ISP)


My experience stretches over a span of three decades in extensive training, education, and certifications/credentials (City of Oakland, County of Alameda and the State of California) in the following areas: violence prevention, domestic violence, anger/behavior management, conflict resolution, life/interpersonal skills, leadership/mentorship development, emotional intelligence and intervention strategies, and techniques, etc.

The populations I specifically have worked with are minorities who are at-risk youth, and middle age adults ranging from ages 14 through 35.

I've done independent consultant/volunteer work for Juvenile Hall, California Youth Authority, and San Quentin prison. My work extends to perpetrators of violence and victims of violence within high-violent communities and incarcerated facilities.

Putting in perspective Foster's adversity and emotional state throughout life


Foster's surroundings aka... culture, his actions and decision making on and off the field throughout his life, whether it's self-inflicted or out of his own control (product of his environment), on a micro or macro level, cry-out and equal one common denominator: "Violence." Playing football is an emotional outlet for Foster.

Anger is an emotion, hence, why he probably loves playing the linebacker position while having the license to violently hit and punish people with reckless abandonment.

But as fans roar for those jarring hits that make SportsCenter highlight reels and allow owners to pack stadiums, what gets lost in the field of play is the inner boy behind the pads who lacks true guidance and a transformation of (role model ala NaVorro Bowman type) leadership to emulate and model his personal and football character after.

Looking at the culture and infrastructure around Reuben Foster


The 49ers, led by head coach Kyle Shanahan, General Manager John Lynch, and his staff, have done a great job at re-establishing the culture and infrastructure in Santa Clara. A big part of that new culture is in the locker room where the 49ers had an influx of 19 rookies in 2017 that saw the field and played 6,245 snaps.

The 49ers have a roster that's also composed of a core of second- to fourth-year players mixed with some reserve quality veterans and serviceable starters.

However, there are no established Pro-Bowl players on the defensive side of the ball playing at a high level that Foster respects and looks up to, which is why the 49ers wanted Ken Norton Jr. in the building to help mentor and develop Foster.

Interesting to note: Former 49er Aldon Smith (14 sacks his rookie season), who was considered a risk and a reach as the seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft coming out of Missouri, was drafted onto a veteran team that featured (2011-Pro-Bowler/All-Pro) Justin Smith, (2011-Pro-Bowler/All-Pro) Patrick Willis, (2011-Pro-Bowler in his second year) Bowman, (2011- Pro-Bowler) Carlos Rogers, and (2011-Pro-Bowler) Dashon Goldson, just to name a few.

The 49ers had a Pro-Bowler at every level of the defense that was either No. 1 at their position or top ten in the NFL. Smith, in his second year (19.5 sacks) made the Pro-Bowl and claimed All-Pro honors in 2012 with a similar group of highly talented and decorated players around him (all strong-minded and tough players).

That environment kept him in check his first two-years and the rest of the Aldon Smith story we know all too well. Once Smith spiraled downhill, he never regained his form on and off the field. Did the 49ers and the Oakland Raiders become coddlers and enablers of Smith? Will the 49ers do the same with Foster?

Ask yourself this question: Who's the outspoken, no-nonsense defensive veteran leader who can command the respect of Reuben Foster, who's over 26, 27, or 28 years old?

Recent Niners Live article alerts: Adding LB Derrick Johnson would help Reuben Foster, from a different perspective, of course.

Curveball: Was Ray-Ray Armstrong, whose production at the time ranked second on the team in tackles and first in interceptions, released because of a numbers/depth game? Or was it because he and Foster were involved in an alleged robbery attempt coupled with Armstrong's past off-the-field issues deemed a negative influence on Foster?

The culture and infrastructure work great for clean-cut and soft-spoken guys (ala Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner) coming from stable homes with two high-character/role-model parents. But Foster's situation, as previously mentioned, is a different kind of animal.

Foster needs an intensive and more specific culture/infrastructure that's centered around his areas of opportunities in the maturity, decision-making, leadership growth/development, anger management, emotional intelligence, and violence prevention departments.

To Be Released or Not Be Released? That is the question


If the 49ers can't surround Foster with the right wrap-around resources/support system that is spelled out in this article from top to bottom, then in my professional opinion, it's just a matter of time before history repeats itself.

That history could happen in the next six months to three years or sooner, but the probability of it happening is high without a stronger culture and infrastructure in place to support a player like Foster. With that being said, Foster still has to be the one to want to change for the better.

I'm not trying to go Michael Jackson here, but he needs to look at the man in the mirror and ask to change his ways... I'm not here as a witness. To Be Continued.....

Sequoia Sims: Founder of Niners Live, Content Creator, player breakdown specialist, and Senior Author. The home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, and different perspective, of course.