Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports


We Treat Star Athletes Better, Because They’re Better People

Bret Rumbeck
Apr 12, 2018 at 1:20 PM


Earlier today, the Santa Clara County district attorney's office charged San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster with felony domestic violence. The report states Foster dragged his live-in girlfriend by her hair, threw her out of the house and punched her in the head 8 to 10 times. The altercation left her bruised and with a ruptured eardrum.

Police officers also found a Sig Sauer 516 and a large capacity magazine in Foster's home.

The 49ers responded to the charges with an uncredited statement:

"The 49ers organization is aware of today's disturbing charges regarding Reuben Foster. We will continue to follow this serious matter. Reuben is aware that his place in our organization is under great scrutiny and will depend on what is learned through the legal process."

No, Foster's arrest in February was not a moment for the 49ers to "gather all pertinent information" or learn more from the legal process. A woman, someone's daughter, sister or niece, called authorities because she was fearing for her life.

No, the multiple felony charges against Foster are not a miscommunication; Foster wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he didn't accidentally steal a pack of gum.

No, the evidence isn't questionable or murky. Ruptured eardrums don't happen to people who are sitting in their homes watching television or cooking dinner. Illegal firearms aren't dropped off by the Gun Fairy, leaving the homeowner with zero ideas of how an unlawful weapon showed up in the closet.

The individual who punched the victim 8 to 10 times and then prohibited her from calling for help is Reuben Foster. The 49ers and the NFL have nothing more to learn from the legal process or to wait for due process to run its course. In fact, the 49ers should have told Foster to pack his bags when he was arrested two months ago.

A lack of disciplinary action from the NFL, and the star-athlete stance taken by the 49ers shouldn't anger you as a football fan, but as a human being. Actions have consequences, and for too long, professional athletes are immune any lasting repercussions.

Both the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) sweep off-the-field atrocities under the rug because they know most fans will tolerate an athlete's behavior or forget it by the time Week 1 rolls around.

Need proof? Rather than comment on Foster's actions, the NFLPA released a joint statement today about sports betting, which is indeed a scourge on professional sports.

"The time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players' privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses."

Yes, the costs of sports gambling are the cause of all that is malicious in professional athletics.

Indeed, the NFL will respond in kind with another round of commercials claiming football players and the league won't stand for domestic violence.

Yes, no more 'he was drunk,' right John Lynch?

And once again, we'll live another day when a professional sports league does nothing to make a real stand against domestic violence.

The 49ers, bloviating a few years ago to win with class, are proving that phrase rings completely hollow. Today, the franchise once again placed wins and money, sugar-coating it with a comment about the 'legal process.' Human decency and doing the right thing isn't classy.

And for unknown reasons, some football fans buy the legal argument. We then misplace our anger about Foster, putting more concern for what the 49ers will do at linebacker than the woman who will live with these events for the rest of her life.

If we as sports fans are going to demand leadership and greatness from athletes on the field, then we need to ask the same when it when they are at home. We hold our family, friends and community leaders to a high standard, but often let it slide with sports figures.

A local high school coach or a youth pastor in a similar situation as Foster would already have lost his job with no second chances, zero defense from his employer and a raucous chorus of 'lock him up' singing from various social media platforms.

The sports world has devolved into a society that embraces false absolutes as truth and shuns truth and reason. It's better for a fan to justify his/her opinion, even if the reality is telling a far different story. We're willing to allow animal abusers and violent men back into the league with open arms, yet belittle those who are protesting for social justice.

Maybe it's time we ask ourselves what we're trying to get out of football: enjoyment or a social media shouting match.

If you are in a violent relationship or need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit thehotline.org. They have trained staff available to speak with you 24 hours a day.
  • Bret Rumbeck
  • Written by:
    Bret Rumbeck has been writing about the 49ers since 2017 for 49ers Webzone and 49ers Hub. He is a Turlock, CA native, and has worked for two members of the US House of Representatives and one US Senator. When not breaking down game film, Bret spends his time seeking out various forms of heavy metal. Feel free to follow him or direct inquiries to @brumbeck.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


2 Comments

  • Leslie smith
    You are right on! It’s all about the $ to teams who are ran by, not the owners, but the NFL. Teams are scared to hire Kaepernick and Reed because of the punishment of NFL. Which makes me wonder WHY are Teams so afraid of the NFL. Repercussions maybe.....as in officiating. We’ve seen some outrageous calls, haven’t we? Thank you, Loyal 9er fan
    Apr 14, 2018 at 7:42 AM
    0
  • RamItOn
    Have to disagree with you on this: we should allow the legal system to run its course and wait for an official judgement. In 2007, the public was ready to crucify a bunch of privileged college boys merely because of an accusation, and, at the time, convincing evidence. As the case unfolded, evidenced mishandling (and possible tampering), unethical police work, and prosecutorial misconduct, among other things, were uncovered. A year later, the Duke lacrosse team was exonerated and several individuals filed a countersuit against the city of Durham. In short, two days after the alleged rape, those shitty white boys were guilty of a hate crime; a year after the alleged crime, a DA was disbarred and the reputation of several public officials were tarnished. Sorry, dude, but we need all of the facts.
    Apr 12, 2018 at 3:22 PM
    4

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