Redskins senior VP of player personnel Doug Williams opened up Thursday about the team’s decision to claim linebacker Reuben Foster off waivers, despite the pending domestic assault charges against him.
Williams, who also played quarterback for the Redskins, said he and the team knew there would be backlash for the decision, but said Foster deserved to have his case properly examined.
“Oh yeah, we knew that was going to happen, and like I said, rightfully so with all the stuff that is going on in this country,” Williams said on The Team 980 . “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. But at the same time it’s a big issue in America today, whether or not it’s in football, whether or not it’s in everyday life, whether or not it’s in politics, it’s out there.”
The Redskins claimed Foster two days after the 49ers released him after he was charged with domestic violence Saturday. It marked the third time this year Foster has been arrested and the second time he has been accused of domestic assault.
Foster was placed on the the commissioner’s exempt list Tuesday, meaning he can’t play until the NFL reaches a disciplinary decision in his case.
Despite the NFL treading lightly and the Redskins saying they won’t sign Foster if he is found guilty, the criticisms of the team were profound.
“We knew there was going to be some backlash, and we understand that, and rightfully so,” Williams said. “I’ve got six daughters, so it ain’t something I would condone, but at the same time I think we are in the business of at least looking into [his case].
“I could sit here, and I won’t, name a bunch of teams that took on players that got a lot of baggage that nobody’s saying anything about. You can’t get into nitpicking what they do and what you do. You gotta look at it from your standpoint. There was a lot of thought that went into it. It wasn’t just a spur of the moment type of thing. We all gathered, we talked about it, we knew there was going to be some risk-reward involved in it.”
Williams also said that despite reports that not all members of the Redskins’ board was supportive of claiming Foster, everyone he spoke to was on board with scooping him up and that there were dissenters was news to him.
“When I read that, I was trying to find out who wasn’t united,” Williams said. “ . . . This is all the people from the head coach, and myself and [Redskins President Bruce Allen], and of course the owner, who owns this football team, has to know what we’re talking about. I don’t know who wasn’t on board. I don’t know where the source comes from. In every organization and every business, everything else, I’m sure they got some leakers who might say something and people take it and run with it . . . Nobody that was in my room was thumbs down.”