I don’t like commenting on these kinds of stories, because any acknowledgement of them can serve to smear a person even as you try to defend them.
The Colts have come out and said the Eric Foster situation is a non-issue with them. Many are crying, “Foul!” and screaming for suspensions ala Roethlisberger.
Let me begin by saying, as someone who has had to deal with “He said, she said” cases from the investigative side, my personal bent is to always favor the woman. If I don’t know and have to choose, I’m going to side with the woman every time. There are a lot of aspects of this story that disturb me deeply. I have no opinion at all about the original complaint against Foster, because I have none of the facts. I find it disturbing.
Having said that, there are real differences between this incident and the Roethlisberger case:
1. Roethlisberger already had a preexisting pending lawsuit similar to this. Most of us looked at the facts of that case and dismissed it as gold digging. I’m not implying that is what the young woman in the Foster case is doing. I have no idea. I do know that there was no rush to suspend or label Roethlisberger a rapist after one civil accusation.
2. Roethlisberger engaged in a pattern of reckless behavior. His second accusation came after he was buying shots for an underaged girl in a college bar. Foster’s incident occurred in the team hotel. Now, if true the Foster incident is worse in my estimation, however, there is no obvious thing we can point to on the surface to say that Foster was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing. The commissioner can’t say to Foster, “Why were you even AT that bar. What were you thinking buying alcohol for women you don’t know, let alone underaged ones?”. That’s the kind of behavior, which by all accounts is a serial MO for Roethlisberger, that has made it all to easy to suspend him. In Foster’s case, we have none of that.
3. The Roethlisberger case hinged in part on the victim being unwilling to testify. That does not seem to be the case here. The Foster incident got not traction with the cops because the DA declined to press charges, but the willingness of the victim to testify does not seem to be at issue. That implies to me that the quality of the evidence is much weaker in the Foster case than in the Roethlisberger case.
I think I speak for all Colts fans when I say that if the allegations against Foster are true, I hope he gets cut and should be in prision. I also know that his reputation is damaged irrevocably now whether they are true or not.
Like I said, my inclination in this and every case is to believe the woman. However, because these are not analogous situations, it’s easy to understand why the team has to take the position it has. Legally, I’m not sure they even have a choice about it.