I caught myself becoming more conservative in my approach to solving issues the other day. As always, a friend of mine and I were talking Niner football before the beginning of church service. I agreed that second-year Linebacker Reuben Foster was going to be history to the San Francisco Forty-Niners. Maybe suspended by the league for many games. I even made a justification comment on his seeming inability to stay on the field. One reason being he is a ferocious tackler. “Yeah, he’s gone, besides the guy can’t seem to stay on the field for an entire game,” was my specific comment.
I thought about what I said on the way home and found myself hoping the young man get help and his football career was not in full jeopardy. Given the facts that were known at the time; he was arrested and charged with three felonies. One being that he savagely or whatever useful adjective you prefer beat his girlfriend. So much so that after being dragged by her hair and thrown out of his house by the linebacker. She flagged down a passing motorist. Who came to the aid of the lady in distress by taking her to the hospital. A medical examination revealed a ruptured eardrum among other scratches and bruises. These charges were prompted by his former girlfriend at the time who said that the Linebacker punched her in the head at least eight times.
Fresh in our minds was the Aldon Smith issues as a Forty-niner and lately the Raiders. Over the last few years, the Niners and the NFL had shown they were hypocritical in nature. They always seemed to give “thuggish or borderline domestically violent players the benefit of the doubt. Apparently, the Niners decision makers preferred keeping talented players and releasing the less important one. I found myself voicing the same concerns as fans and reporters. Enough is enough, get rid of him for the good of the team.
Fast forward to April 25th. That was the day Ms. Elissa Ennis attorney released another version of events. Primarily that her client got into a fight with another girl where she actually received cuts and bruises. She denied Reuben Foster hit her during the incident. She frankly stated that she lied because she was upset that the young football star was breaking up with her. She retained a lawyer to protect herself and understand her rights.
Even though the former girlfriend has recanted her original story. It should be noted that the Santa Clara County prosecutors can and will proceed with the multiple felony charges attributed to the February incident. They made their statement the next day. Charges that also include possessing an assault weapon. The linebacker is out on bail and has yet to enter a plea.
Let me come to my favorite teams’ position defense. For I do believe in the process of Innocent until proven guilty. General manager and the Forty Niner hierarchy contended all along to let the legal process play itself out. Their reasoning was based on the known facts at the time along with knowing they are dealing with young kids. I’m sad to say…shame on me, for this was one element of the situation that I simply forgot. To the team’s credit, General Manager John Lynch did clarify the seemingly new policy. He stated that if the legal investigation and conclusion were that Reuben Foster hit this lady, he would no longer be on the team.
We all need to take a minute when we hear these type reports. They flash across the TV screen as a Major Development, Breaking News or Happening Right Now. You would think that after a year of Trump Tweets, Lies, some legitimate News mixed with Fake News, we would learn to withhold our judgment. At least until we get all of the facts. Yes, I am particularly annoyed with my rush to judgment stance.
I know how growing up in different environments can affect a young person. Especially young athletes. I think about some of the dumb stuff I did as a streetwise kid. Then I fear the trouble, I would have gotten in having a truckload of money. Imagine what you would have done after having signed a multi-year million-dollar contract. How about the type of people you and I would attract? And we all know the difference of what the right behavior versus the wrong attitudes is. We certainly remember the peer pressures of our young ages.
Young lovers still have serious maturity flaws. They are trying to learn how to be together as a couple. Who is going to be the dominant personality? How much of yourself are you willing to share? Add that to the fact one of the couples now has economic stability meaning substantial affluence of wealth. Think about that for a minute. You don’t personally have the wealth your intended does. They have met someone else, are dumping you. Your standard of living dreams is going up in smoke. Sure, you have confidence in making your own way, Maybe you will and maybe you won’t.
One thing is sure, men should never hit a woman. Despite what she says or do to instigate, continue or escalate the argument. Young men, athletes especially need to walk away. If you’re mature and fell comfortably with yourself, try to reason with the lady. If unsuccessful, walk away even from your own house until you can get help.
As for the prosecutor’s idea to proceed with the case, overlooking the admission of the victim. Remember the victim, not a witness, not the concept of the prosecution of extenuating circumstances, tells an entirely different story. One that should clear the linebacker of the domestic violence charge. There was no crime so says the victim.
So why would a prosecutor try to continue charges against Mr. Foster in spite of evidence to the contrary? Maybe, just maybe the person that made that decision sees a step up in his political standing in the community. Someone attempting to personal gain from a charge to screw up a young man’s career should have charges brought up against them. If all else about this case remains changed, the shame has shifted to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. Justice is supposed to be blind, not stupid.
Peace & Blessing…stay vigilant for our American rights. Make it a 2018 day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II
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We are in a continuing effort to publicize my book, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953. It examines an era of Jim Crow that many in our society may have forgotten occurred against people of color. Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of my latest and fifth book, Misguided Intentions. Click on the publisher-Authors page at https://outskirtspress.com/MisguidedIntentions
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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment.