Just a few days after he was arrested at the San Francisco 49ers' team hotel and, Reuben Foster was by Washington. After doing so, the team addressed the claim only by releasing a statement through senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams.
"Today we have claimed the rights to LB Reuben Foster," Williams said. "The Redskins fully understand the severity of the recent allegations made against Reuben. 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."
Washington's "investigation" of the situation apparently did not include a conversation with the Tampa police., and per a report, it was the Philadelphia Eagles -- not Washington.
On Thursday, Williams expanded on his initial remarks during his weekly radio appearance. Williams rationalized signing a player who has been accused of domestic violence on multiple occasions (and has been arrested three times this year alone, most recently just four days ago) by stating, "We've got people who are in high, high, high, high places that have done far worse, and if you look at it realistically, they're still up there. This is small potatoes [compared to] a lot of things out there."
In other words, Williams thinks it's OK for Washington to sign a player with Foster's track record simply because high-ranking people have committed worse offenses.
But that's not all Williams had to say.
Williams on the blowback: "Basically what you’re doing here is you’re taking a high-risk chance. The high risk was the beat-up that we’re going to take from PR. We understood that from a PR standpoint, and we’re taking it."— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) November 29, 2018
Using the phrase "beat-up" to describe the public relations backlash the team would take from signing an accused domestic abuser is remarkably tone-deaf. But Williams did not stop there. He also defended the team's lax investigation into the allegations against Foster, noting that the team did not even talk to all five of Foster's former teammates who are now in the organization, and spoke to only two of them.
Williams on talking to Foster's former teammates: " It wasn’t like we gotta talk to all five. The two that we did talk to know him very well. Not that that makes the decision on whether we make the move or not; we’re just trying to get some insight into the young man.”— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) November 29, 2018
Williams also admitted that the organization does not know much about the actual circumstances of Foster's recent arrest, and is just hoping that it will turn out that he did nothing wrong. "The most important thing is, we're hoping that things come out and it wasn't the way that everything has been perceived," he said. "We don't know that. We have to wait and see. If things are as bad as it's made out to be, he might not get a chance to play."
If Williams or anyone else in the Washington organization thought these responses would make the criticism go away, they are wrong. This will -- and should -- only make said criticism louder, as the answers Williams gave show an incredible lack of tact, media awareness, and especially, caring for victims of domestic violence.