With the news of Reuben Foster being claimed off waivers less than 48 hours after being cut by the San Fransisco 49ers for repeated domestic violence accusations and an arrest, one question remains: Is there no room for a conscience when it comes to sports, and specifically football?
Foster is far from the first, and undoubtably won’t be the last athlete to find a new team to take a chance on him amidst run-ins with the law. But what makes these teams so willing to risk their reputations on such questionable personalities?
Some will state the sad but obvious truth: talented people get treated differently and get special treatment. That’s not only in the sports world, but in today’s culture as a whole.
No matter how much trouble they get in, typically there will always be a spot for someone who can make an impact on somebody’s bottom dollar.
Turning back to sports and particularly the NFL, we see this seemingly every year with completely different circumstances such as Greg Hardy, Josh Gordon, Michael Kendricks, and now with Foster.
On the flip side, however, an argument could be made that there is a conscience when it comes to talented players, and the most recent example came in the form of Ray Rice. That entire saga effectively put a nail in the coffin for his career. Some would say that is for the best.
I don’t necessarily stand on one side or the other in that argument, because immediately after everything was finished, I had another troubling thought.
Rice’s now former team the Baltimore Ravens seemed like they would’ve kept him on the team after the initial information was released to the public. What forced their hand to distance themselves from the pro bowl RB was the elevator surveillance video that showed Rice punching his wife unconscious and dragging her out.
So while some would argue that there is some kind of conscious because he was never was able to recover in the court of public opinion, what if that footage was never released?
Would Rice’s situation been nothing more than another headline flashing along the bottom of the ESPN ticker, only to be essentially forgotten soon after?
So back to my original question: Is there a conscience in football?
The answer, like most others, isn’t black and white no matter who you are. Everyone has their own set of rules that they go by. What’s the crime/allegation? How important are they to the team? What was the punishment for the last person? How does this effect the brand of whoever’s cutting their checks?
All these questions are analyzed and determined but one important one is often, if not always, overlooked: If they were an average, “normal” person in the same situation, what would happen?