Hey, Reuben Foster, I have a few questions for you following your arrest Sunday. I don’t imagine your legal counsel will advise you answer to me or anyone else, at least not in the near future. But I’m going to ask anyway, because a lot of us who follow the 49ers are curious about some things.
Let’s start small, with your appearance at the NFL scouting combine a year ago. Looking back, what was that incident at the Indianapolis hospital about? Why did you become enraged while waiting for a physical? Was the line really that long?
At the time, we dismissed it. You were 22 years old. You didn’t hurt anyone. Heaven knows I’ve wanted to scream in frustration in a hospital or two over the years. No big deal, right?
In light of recent events, though, questions emerge. Do you have trouble dialing down your anger, Reuben? Are you prone to outbursts? Are you in control? Did the cocoon they constructed around you at the University of Alabama do more harm than good? Did it inhibit your growth as an adult?
Not to paint the Crimson Tide with one broad brush. Raiders receiver Amari Cooper played at Alabama, and he seems to be a perfect gentleman. But a lot of us can’t get Rolando McClain out of our heads. Do you remember McClain? He was a linebacker like you, and when the Raiders drafted him in 2010, scouts raved about his effort and his “football IQ.” But he was an NFL washout on the field, and a disaster off of it. Did you see McClain’s arrest photo after he was charged with assault, reckless endangerment, etc.? The one where he’s grinning ear to ear? Was that not a cautionary tale?
Reuben, let’s talk about your arrest in Tuscaloosa last month for marijuana possession. And let’s be clear about one thing: I don’t judge people for smoking weed. It’s legal in California. It should be legal everywhere. I wish more NFL players would light up a joint rather than turn to opiates for their pain.
But Reuben, I wonder about the circumstances of that arrest. Few details emerged afterward. We know the charge was second-degree possession, a Class A misdemeanor in Alabama. We also know that young African-American men bear a higher level of scrutiny than, say, my friends and me when we were just out of college.
But were you careless that day? Or even blatant? Did you remember that you had turned in a diluted urine sample at the combine, signaling that you were “exceptionally hydrated” when you peed into that cup, and that many employers would read it as an attempt to mask drug use? Do you realize that the diluted sample caused you to enter the NFL’s substance abuse program right out of the gate?
Again, I couldn’t care less if you pack a pipe in the living room. But did you recall that the 49ers gave you a $4.7 million signing bonus last June? Do you think maybe you owe it to them to show discretion in your public behavior? To pick your spots wisely?
I have questions about Sunday’s arrest, too.
Like, why do you own an assault rifle? Or maybe more than one assault rifle? According to the Mercury News, when police responded to an apparent domestic quarrel at a Los Gatos residence on Sunday morning, a woman, reportedly your long-term girlfriend — should we call her the victim? — told them you had at least two AR-15 rifles in the house.