The San Francisco 49ers have a decision to make with regard to linebacker Reuben Foster following his arrest on Sunday. The arrest is reportedly related to domestic violence, but that will be clarified when Santa Clara’s official arrest log is updated Monday morning.
A domestic violence arrest brings with it an NFL investigation, but it also brings with it the 49ers recent history. Last spring, cornerback Tramaine Brock was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence. He was booked and released from jail, and approximately four hours later, the 49ers announced they were releasing him.
As far as I can recall, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan did not meet with the media immediately after Brock was released. Shanahan had a regularly scheduled press conference the following Monday, and he was asked about the decision. He was asked what the conversations were like when the news came about leading up to the release decision.
“We heard about it on Friday. It was a tough situation because it’s a big deal and you don’t have all of the information. My first time going through it, I found out how hard it is to kind of get all the information. So, we spent most of the day trying to figure out all the information you can, as much as you can get, and you never do get all of it, but there was enough there that we felt it was the decision we had to make and move on from.”
He was then asked if this was sending a message to the team about what is expected of a 49er.
“No. I would never say, you’re dealing with people’s lives, so I’d never want to use a situation as sending a message. It’s just us trying to do the right thing, whatever that is. I think each situation’s different and you’ve got to look into every situation, gather all the information that you can. When you do, you try as hard as you can to make the right decision and I think that’s what I felt we did.”
Two days later, John Lynch met with the media at the local Pro Day the 49ers hosted. He was asked, “do you have a thing like if you put your hand on a woman physically, you’re out of here?” Lynch talked about treating each situation as unique and different.
“I think where we’ve been consistent is we have said that character is important to us, football character and I think that’s for a lot of reasons. First of all, just the right thing. How you want to carry yourself as an individual and as an organization. But, Kyle and I also believe and some of our conversations that led to us coming together is that that’s how you put together a great football team too. And football character means a lot of different things. But, as Kyle I think articulated very well and I feel the same way because we kind of forged these philosophies together, as those situations arise and hopefully there won’t be a lot them, we’re going to treat each one of them as a unique and different situation. That’s what we did the other day. I can tell you guys that I understood when I stepped into this job that there would be tough decisions and I also understood that part of my job is to make tough and hard decisions. I can tell you that the gravity of that situation, you’re affecting an organization, you’re protecting your organization, but you’re also dealing with the family. So, that was not easy. I think there’s been some conjecture that we didn’t think highly of him. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. He was a starting player for us. So, that was not easy. I can also tell you that it wasn’t meant to send a message. I think you let those things happen organically and we did what we felt was the right situation in that situation. It was not easy and felt like it was something that we needed to do.”
Brock’s arrest came the Friday before the 49ers opened their offseason workout program. Rather than having Brock stay away from the workout program while they investigated the situation, they quickly cut him.
I have no idea what the 49ers have in mind this time around. We don’t know when they found out about his arrest, but given that it was on a Sunday, that could be an impetus for the team taking longer to make a decision. Ideally this will not be a decision based on him being more talented than Tramaine Brock, but we’ll be left to wait and see how this plays out.