(KPIX) — “Don’t get nobody else to write your story. You write your own story, and I am my story and nobody gave me the chance to say my story.”
Those were the words spoken by Reuben Foster after I asked him about the questions regarding his character leading up to the draft.
Reuben Foster is writing his story and it seems headed for a sad ending. His energy is contagious. His smile can fill a room. His talent is immense. But none of those endearing traits can hide the reality of a troubled young man whose career is in jeopardy before his sophomore season.
The red flags were there for everyone to see. 31 teams saw them. The 49ers did not. Initially, John Lynch was praised for what many called the “steal of the draft.” The praises have gone silent and the “I told you so’s” have taken their place.
Sadly, there are too many instances of Foster’s bad judgement to be ignored any longer. A suspension is sure to come and the integrity of the team’s management is on trial.
If Foster were an undrafted, marginal football player, his name would have been off his locker by five o’clock Sunday evening. But Reuben has greatness written all over him. It’s a double-standard, of course, but that’s the way it works in the NFL.
The 49ers signed the 23-year old rookie to a 4-year contract worth more than $9 million. In his rookie season, he was suddenly flush with cash. An instant millionaire. An instant star. Reuben proved all the critics wrong. Until he didn’t.
While everything in Foster’s life changed, the person inside is the same. He is a product of domestic violence himself. His mother was shot by his father while she held a toddler in her arms. That toddler was Reuben, and while the bullet hit both mother and child, they both survived.
When I asked Reuben about his father, he said he couldn’t come to forgive the man, but had one question for him, “Why?”
Perhaps that’s the same question many are wondering about Reuben Foster now.
Why did he allegedly drag a woman? Why did he allegedly have an assault weapon? Why is it that when a person seems to have it all, he is willing to throw it all away?
Why can’t we understand that, despite handing him millions and instant stardom, the troubles that followed Reuben, follow him still?
Reuben Foster, the person, needs help. It’s incumbent on the 49ers and the NFL get him that help to save the person, not the football player.
Reuben Foster has the pen in his hand. It’s his story to write. I hope it has many chapters to come.