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Charges of Domestic Violence Against Reuben Foster Are Dropped

Category: Other Sports,Sports

Washington Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster, who was at the center of a controversy over domestic violence in the N.F.L., has escaped prosecution.

The state attorney’s office in Hillsborough County, Fla., dropped misdemeanor domestic violence charges against Foster. The linebacker was arrested on Nov. 24 after an incident involving his ex-girlfriend in the hotel where the San Francisco 49ers, his former team, were staying.

The 49ers did not wait for his case to play out and released Foster, a second-year player who had other brushes with the law during his short N.F.L. tenure. Three days after his arrest, the Redskins claimed Foster, 24, off waivers, reigniting a debate over whether N.F.L. teams were taking the issue of domestic violence seriously enough.

Foster is currently on the commissioner’s exempt list, which means he cannot play in games but can be paid while the league decides whether to suspend him. Foster was supposed to appear at an arraignment in Tampa on Thursday, but the hearing was canceled after prosecutors dropped the case. TMZ first reported the case being dropped.

Last spring, Foster was charged with domestic violence, also against his ex-girlfriend. Those charges were also later dropped. Foster also had a confrontation with a hospital worker at the N.F.L. scouting combine in 2017, when he grew impatient while waiting for a drug test. He was sent home.

The N.F.L. suspended Foster for two games at the start of this season because of an arrest on misdemeanor marijuana possession charges last January. He also faced weapons chargers from the previous domestic violence incident because a loaded Sig Sauer 516 rifle was found on a bathroom floor. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to community service and two years of probation, and is prohibited from possessing guns.

Foster’s legal troubles have shined an uncomfortable light on the N.F.L. and its stated objective of holding players accountable for their behavior off the field, particularly when it includes violence against women. The league has said it no longer relies solely on law enforcement for guidance in whether players should be penalized because laws governing domestic violence vary from state to state, and cases can take months to adjudicate.

At the same time, the league cannot stop teams from signing players who are fighting their cases. The 49ers said that Foster had violated the team’s zero-tolerance policy against domestic violence. The Redskins, though, were widely criticized for signing Foster before his case had been resolved.

In a statement after signing Foster, the Redskins said they “fully understand the severity of the recent allegations made against Reuben.” The team added, “If true, you can be sure these allegations are nothing our organization would ever condone.”


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