49ers Cut Reuben Foster After Second Domestic Violence Arrest in 2018

When linebacker Reuben Foster was arrested for felony domestic violence back in February, the 49ers stood by their 2017 first-round draft pick. Foster’s girlfriend Elissa Ennis had accused Foster of “hitting her 8-10 times” and puncturing her eardrum following a domestic dispute. Despite the highly disturbing charges, 49ers general manager John Lynch said that the team would allow due process to inform Foster’s future as a 49er but also that domestic violence would not be tolerated.

Lo and behold, Ennis recanted her accusation in court, writing in an affidavit that she “wanted to ruin his career.” So Foster remained in the team, albeit with a two-game suspension to start the season. The 49ers strategically placed Foster’s locker next to newly-signed cornerback leader Richard Sherman, who tried to mentor Foster. Essentially the 49ers covered one eye and hoped for the best. They didn’t get it.

On the eve of San Francisco’s game against the Bucs, Foster was arrested at the team hotel on another domestic violence charge. He was released by the 49ers hours later. No due process as the events unfolded under the same roof.

The alleged victim was again Ennis, who according to a Tampa police affidavit said Foster “slapped the phone out of her hand, pushed her in the chest area with one hand, and slapped her with an open hand on the left side of her face.” Police found a 1″ scratch on her left collarbone.

The fact that Ennis was even on the scene begs multiple questions.  Why were she and Foster still in contact? The answer may provide a lens into the often complicated relationships involving domestic violence. Also, why was she at the team hotel across the country? Did the 49ers know? Did they help make arrangements which some teams do for families or girlfriends of players?

The 49ers drafted Foster 31st overall in the 2017 draft, Lynch’s second ever pick as general manager. (The team selected Solomon Thomas third overall.) Foster, an undeniable talent out of Alabama, slipped for multiple reasons. In the lead up to the draft he was sent home from the combine after getting into a verbal altercation with a hospital employee. He also failed a drug test after a diluted sample.

Foster had a disturbing childhood with little guidance. His father, Danny, is currently incarcerated for shooting Foster’s mother when Reuben was just 19 months old. Reuben was hit as well.

As a player for the 49ers, Foster showed early promise but he missed five games last season after suffering a high ankle sprain and had been largely ineffective this season. He played just 16 games for San Francisco. Foster goes on waivers Monday at 4PM ET.