The football future of 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster is in doubt after Thursday’s action by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office that it is charging Foster with three felonies in relation to an alleged assault of his girlfriend.
The 49ers’ first-round pick in the 2017 draft could eventually be released by the Niners or suspended by the NFL. He could also receive jail time if convicted.
What isn’t in doubt is Foster’s situation has created some strong opinions about what the 49ers should do about Foster. Many believe the team shouldn't wait for the legal process to play out. Though Foster has not been proven guilty of any of the charges, some in the media want the team to make a decision on Foster now.
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ann Killion, for one, has written that the team should cut ties with him. She says the 49ers “have turtled,” withdrawing from the situation without taking immediate action.
“The team that has talked big about a new era of accountability did not release Foster on Thursday morning,” she wrote. “It has not been brave enough to attach Jed York’s or John Lynch’s name to a bland statement. Instead it issues the anonymous ‘49ers organization’ news release.
“ ‘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.’ ”
The bottom line, she wrote, is that the 49ers will “wait out the legal process and the NFL process and hope they can someday, somehow get their prized linebacker back. If so, they’ll spend that time struggling in ethical quicksand.”
Mike Tanier of Bleacher Report also criticized the 49ers and the NFL in general, saying teams should cut ties with players linked to domestic violence. Wrote Tanier: “The NFL should use cases like Foster’s to illuminate a major social problem and emphasize its severity.”
Columnist Dieter Kurtenbach of the Bay Area News Group, too, wrote the 49ers must cut ties with the star linebacker. He wrote the 49ers should have let Foster go when the incident with his girlfriend first came to light.
“It’s time for the 49ers to correct the mistake,” he wrote. “It’s time for them to get out from under their bad bet. It’s time for them to cut Foster.”
A reader poll by the Bay Area News Group agreed with Kurtenbach, Killion and Tanier. As of Friday morning, 68 percent of readers chose “As good as he is, he isn’t worth the trouble” in response to the question, “Should the 49ers cut Reuben Foster?” Only 31 percent of readers voted for “Let the legal system process play out.”