Washington Redskins team president Bruce Allen was reportedly behind the team claiming linebacker Reuben Foster off waivers after Foster’s arrest for a domestic violence accusation. Yet the team won’t make Allen available to the media, letting senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams be the spokesperson for the move.
The Washington Post reported was Allen’s move and the front office was “far from unanimous” over. Who really knows why Williams is the one speaking about it, but it’s not going well.
Williams put out a statement on it, and the team said that statement would stand from the front office (coach Jay Gruden was asked about it during his normal press conference, and the PR staff cut off Foster questions after nine minutes). Williams wasn’t done talking about it though, and he made a comment that won’t stop the outcry over the controversial move.
Doug Williams says allegations against Reuben Foster are ‘small potatoes’
Already this week we’ve seen a couple of comments that show the NFL is still lagging behind when it comes to having sensitive discussions about domestic violence, but Williams topped them all during an interview with The Team 980.
“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, via the Sporting News. “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.”
Was Williams referencing President Donald Trump there? Who else would be in a high, high, high, high place? It’s probably coincidence, but Trump referred to the failed USFL in an ESPN documentary as “small potatoes.”
No matter what Williams was referencing, using the term “small potatoes” for Foster, who has been accused of domestic violence twice by the same woman, is as poor of a choice of words as there will be about the matter.
NFL linebacker Reuben Foster
NFL linebacker Reuben Foster
TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 19: Reuben Foster #10 of the Crimson team looks into the backfield of the White team during the University of Alabama A-Day spring game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 19, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Jan 7, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster (10) during the Alabama Crimson Tide media day at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster (10) walks onto the field prior to the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Washington Huskies on December 31, 2016, at Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. Alabama won the game 24-7. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09: Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers is tackled short of the first down by linebacker Reuben Foster #10 and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick #29 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the third quarter of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game as defensive back Marlon Humphrey #26 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 11: San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster (56) flexes after his teammates made a defensive stop in the third quarter of an NFL week 1 preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs on August 11th, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. The 49ers won 27-17. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Aug 27, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster (56) looks on following the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 10, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster (56) is loaded onto the injury cart during the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers talks to Reuben Foster #56 of the San Francisco 49ers after their game at Levi's Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 01: San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster (56) walks the sidelines prior to an NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images via Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 05: San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Reuben Foster (56) celebrates after making a tackle during an NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers on November 5, 2017 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 05: Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson (23) and San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Reuben Foster (56) pose for a picture after exchanging their jersey's with each other during an NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers on November 5, 2017 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 03: Daniel Brown #85 of the Chicago Bears carries the football against Reuben Foster #56 of the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field on December 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Chicago Bears 15-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 10: Reuben Foster #56 of the San Francisco 49ers talks with Official Allen Baynes on the field prior to the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The 49ers defeated the Texans 26-16. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 17: San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Reuben Foster (56) brings down Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) during the game between the Tennessee Titans verses the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA (Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Redskins getting heat for claiming Foster
Washington got ripped for the move, and rightfully so. Even San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, whose team cut Foster after the accusation last weekend by the woman that Foster abused her in the team hotel, said he was surprised anyone claimed Foster.
The Redskins have tried rationalizing the move, and while it’s a cowardly act to not have Allen or owner Daniel Snyder answer for it, Williams’ comments might show the team is better off not saying anything at all.
“We knew there was going to be some backlash, and we understand that, and rightfully so,” Williams told The Team 980, via Sporting News. “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.”
The Redskins don’t get to dish out some whataboutism in this case. Whatever other teams have done isn’t part of the conversation. The Redskins claimed off waivers a player who days earlier was accused of domestic violence at a team hotel. The team has to answer for that.
Then again, with the ridiculousness way in which they’ve handled the matter, maybe it is best if they say nothing at all.