SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) — The San Francisco 49ers announced early Sunday they have released former first round draft pick Reuben Foster after he was arrested at the team’s hotel in Tampa on a domestic violence charge.
In a one sentence press release, the team announced it had parted ways with the starting linebacker.
“He was really taking some very positive steps and maturing in a really nice fashion,” general manager John Lynch told reporters before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Unfortunately in life there’s consequences for your actions. When you show bad judgment, particularly after something has been communicated very clearly what the expectations are, there are consequences.”
Local fans agreed with the 49ers decision.
“The abuse of women is a real problem in the United States — around the world really,” said John McManus. “And I just don’t think it can be tolerated.”
His wife, Sally, felt the same.
“It makes me really sad,” she said. “I feel compassion for both people. Of course, the woman needs to be protected and the man needs to be held accountable. And absolutely, the 49ers are doing the right thing.”
Shannon Chapman had even harsher words.
“What a dummy,” she said. “I mean really — what a dummy. Why would you put yourself in that situation again?”
Foster was booked into Hillsborough County jail at 11:11 p.m. Saturday after he was taken into custody at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay on a domestic battery charge. He was being held without bail.
Tampa Police spokeswoman Janelle McGregor said a woman told police Foster slapped her phone out of her hand, pushed her in the chest area and slapped her with an open hand on the right side of her face. Officers observed a one-inch scratch on the accuser’s left collarbone.
McGregor said officers learned that Foster had lived with the woman in the past and had been involved in an on-and-off relationship with her over the past three years. Police didn’t say whether it was the same woman who accused Foster of hitting her in February but later recanted the allegations.
Foster has struggled on the field this season as well as he has dealt with shoulder and hamstring injuries. He had missed the past two games with a hamstring injury and is listed as questionable for Sunday with the injury.
Foster has 29 tackles in six games this season with no sacks, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries or interceptions. He has also missed 10 tackles in six games, according to SportRadar, and has the second highest rate of missed tackles among any linebacker with at least 200 snaps on defense.
The 24-year-old has had several legal issues since he was the team’s first round draft pick out of Alabama in 2017. He served a two-game suspension to start the 2018 season for violating the NFL’s conduct and substance abuse policies.
The suspension came in the wake of weapons possession and a misdemeanor drug charges, both of which were resolved earlier this year.
Foster was charged in January in Alabama with second-degree marijuana possession. That charge was eventually dismissed after he completed a first-time offender diversion course.
He then faced more serious charges for an incident in the Bay Area in February. He was initially charged in April with felonies for domestic violence, making criminal threats and weapons possession after being accused of beating up his ex-girlfriend Ennis.
A judge ruled there was no probable cause on the first two charges after Ennis recanted the allegations and the judge found no other evidence to support the charges.
At the time, the Santa County District Attorney’s office said it was disappointed the charges had been dismissed.
“We are disappointed because the evidence demonstrated that Mr. Foster seriously hurt his girlfriend,” the office said in the statement. “Some have wondered why we still think Mr. Foster hurt his girlfriend when she said that he didn’t. Recantation is common among domestic violence victims . . . we move forward on cases when victims falsely recant because we know that if we don’t more victims will be hurt.”
Meanwhile, the weapons charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and Foster pleaded no-contest to that in June.
He was sentenced to two years’ probation, 232 hours of community service, and $235 in fines. He will not be allowed to own guns while he’s on probation.
The 49ers drafted Foster 31st overall last year after questions about his health and character caused him to drop from being a possible top 10 pick.
He made nine starts in his break out rookie season, registering 72 tackles, which ranked second on the team, and one pass defensed. He earned the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month Award for the month of November after picking up 30 tackles in three starts.
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.