NFL, 49ers handling of Reuben Foster case watched closely through #MeToo lens

The domestic-violence and weapon arrest of San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster this week is still being reviewed by prosecutors, but the team and NFL’s handling of the case in the football realm is being eyed by victim advocates as a bellwether for whether the league has really turned a corner on addressing player violence against women.

The 49ers hold the dubious distinction of having the most player arrests in the league since 2012 — a total of 17, several of them involving domestic-violence allegations. Foster’s case is also one of the first to surface since the #MeToo movement heightened debate and awareness of violence against women, putting new pressure on the NFL and other professional sports franchises to hold their players to a new standard.

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Katherine Redmond, founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes, said Foster’s arrest and the involvement of other 49er players in previous domestic violence cases are going to be stiff tests for General Manager John Lynch and Coach Kyle Shanahan to make good on pledges to improve personal accountability on the team.

“John Lynch, no question, has to establish a better culture on that team and that organization,” said Redmond, who is also a gender-based violence prevention and response consultant for the New England Patriots. “That organization has been plagued with this issue and needs to do better. They need to establish a culture that is zero tolerance. Period.”

The #MeToo movement increases the scrutiny of Foster, the team and the NFL, experts say.

“I think what (#MeToo) does is it puts more pressure on teams to say the right things and do some of the right things,” Redmond said. “And it also puts pressure on the systems that surround this team that is used to keep these victims quiet.”

The 49ers had no further comment as they continue to gather information and wait for the matter to unfold legally. Foster met …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

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