Three days after his arrest on a charge of domestic violence, Reuben Foster has found a new NFL team.
The Washington Redskins claimed the linebacker off waivers Tuesday, but he won’t immediately be taking the field. Foster has been placed on the NFL commissioner’s exempt list, which means he cannot practice or attend games while the league reviews his arrest, league spokesman Brian McCarthy told CNN.
The Redskins’ move sparked outrage at a time when the NFL is trying to overcome criticism that it has been too lenient on players who have been accused of domestic violence. A column Tuesday in USA Today said the team’s addition of Foster sends a “vile, inexcusable message.”
Perhaps anticipating a backlash, Washington released a statement on Foster from Doug Williams, the team’s senior vice president of player personnel.
“The Redskins fully understand the severity of the recent allegations made against Reuben,” Williams said. “If true, you can be sure these allegations are nothing our organization would ever condone.
“Let me be clear, Reuben will have to go through numerous steps including the full legal process, an investigation and potential discipline from the NFL, as well as meetings with counselors associated with the team before he will ever have the opportunity to wear the Burgundy and Gold as a player.
“That being said, we decided to investigate the situation with Reuben further by claiming his rights after candid conversations with a number of his ex-Alabama teammates and current Redskins players who were overwhelmingly supportive of us taking this chance.
“Nothing is promised to Reuben, but we are hopeful being around so many of his former teammates and friends will eventually provide him with the best possible environment to succeed both personally and professionally.”
CNN has reached out to Foster’s agent but has not heard back.
Commenters on Twitter also noted that Washington claimed Foster despite a history of arrests while former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who drew controversy for kneeling during the national anthem before games, still can’t get a job in the NFL.
Foster, 24, was arrested Saturday night after police responded to the Grand Hyatt hotel in Tampa, Florida, for a domestic violence investigation, according to a city press release.
The former first-round draft pick was charged with one count of first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail. Foster declined to comment when he was released from custody on Sunday, according to footage from CNN affiliate WFLA.
Police said Foster’s 28-year-old female companion reported that he “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.”
The 49ers released Foster on Sunday, hours before their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“We have a set of standards in place that the players were involved with in developing,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “In this case it was communicated exceptionally clear to the point as to what we expected out of him.
“(His release is) more of a comment on him not living up to what we had communicated and to the energy and the time we had invested into him.”
In April, Foster was charged with felony domestic violence for allegedly attacking his girlfriend in February at their home, leaving her bruised and with a ruptured eardrum, the Santa Clara County District Attorney said. At that time, the 49ers announced he would not participate in team activities as he tends to legal matters.
In May, those charges were dismissed after she recanted her story, and Foster then rejoined the team.
“It has been made clear to Reuben that his place on this team is one that must continue to be earned,” Lynch said in a statement at the time.
In July, Foster was fined and suspended without pay for the first two games of the 2018 regular season for violating the NFL’s conduct and substances of abuse policies. The violations stem from a weapons offense and a misdemeanor drug offense, both of which were resolved earlier this year.